A 29-year-old woman shared how she has been suffering for almost ten years after she had an allergic reaction to hair dye that almost killed her!
Back in 2010, Robyn Cherry from England went to the hair salon to get her hair coloured brown, which she describes as “the worst mistake of her life”.
She said that she would usually bleach her hair blonde twice a month. She would do a patch test and wait 48 hours before carrying on.
“I always did a patch test and waited 48 hours. But after many years, I decided to go back to my natural brown hair,” she said.
“The salon gave me a patch test the day before my appointment which didn’t reveal any reaction.”
“The next day the hairdresser asked me to come in and they dyed my hair brown”
Robyn then shared that a few minutes after leaving the salon, her scalp started burning. She ignored the sensation but woke up the following morning and realised that her face had swollen to twice its size!
“My head literally looked like a tomato, I was so scared. And the pain was agonising. My head was burning so much I felt like it was going to pop off,” she said.
“My mum took me to the GP, but the receptionist told us to go to hospital immediately. Mum was worried and revealed that my face was swelling up, even as we were driving to hospital.”
By the time they reached the hospital, Robyn’s face had swollen so much that her airways were blocked, making it difficult for her to breath. She was immediately brought to the resuscitation unit.
“I could feel my face getting even bigger and my eyes had swollen shut. I was completely blind, it was horrible,” she said.
“I heard doctors saying my hair was coming out in clumps and my scalp was covered in blisters that kept bursting.”
“I kept passing out every few minutes because of the pain and was absolutely hysterical. Doctors gave me adrenaline shots and steroids.”
“They said it was the worst reaction they’d ever seen and, if I’d left it another hour, I would have died. I was terrified and kept begging them to help me.”
Doctors later discovered that Robyn had a horrible reaction to paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a common ingredient in hair dye. They said that the patch test the hair salon had given her should’ve been left for 48 hours instead of 24.
Robyn’s breathing returned to normal within 16 hours and she was discharged from the hospital. But after six hours of being home, she stopped breathing as her airways were swollen shut again and was rushed back to the hospital.
Robyn was in and out of the emergency ward every four days suffering from allergic reactions. She realised that she never reacted to hair dye before because there was no PPD in bleach.
“I became allergic to most foods, spices, nuts, alcohol and clothing. I couldn’t eat at restaurants, wear nice clothes or go out for drinks with my friends. My life became a living hell,” she said.
The release of PPD had caused Robyn’s body to go into a state of shock, which meant she was having severe allergic reactions to everyday items.
This included being allergic to sunlight! Every time she went into the sun, her skin would be covered in blisters filled with pus. She would also have hives all over her body and would feel faint.
Robyn was then diagnosed with polumorphic light eruption and solar urticaria in 2011 as a result of the reaction, a rare condition that made her sensitive to sunlight.
“I’ll be on extremely strong antihistamines and steroids for the rest of my life. During summer I can’t enjoy beach holidays or even spend the day in a pub garden.”
“Going to the hairdresser that day was the worst decision I’ve ever made but sadly I cannot take it back. Now, I want to warn others about the dangers of dyeing their hair.”
“Please always do a patch test and, if you go to the hairdresser, make sure they wait 48 hours.”
Oh no! Please listen to Robyn’s advice and make sure to do a patch test before dyeing your hair, and make sure to wait at least 48 hours before proceeding.
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