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December 22, 2009

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Salons’ chemicals complacency highlighted

Hair salons across England are failing to protect customers from

potential allergic reactions to hair dyes, new research suggests.

The survey of salons in England’s ten biggest cities was carried out by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) as part of a nationwide campaign to regulate the hairdressing industry. The study found that 90 per cent of salons in Leeds and Newcastle did not conduct a skin test for allergies against hair-dye chemicals, while London and Liverpool fared little better with 85 per cent of salons failing to carry out such a test.

“It’s hard to believe but, as it currently stands, anyone can pick up a pair of scissors, or put strong chemicals on to someone’s head and call themselves a hairdresser, regardless of qualifications and experience,” said APIL chief executive Denise Kitchener.

She added that she was extremely concerned that so many salons appeared not to take skin testing for allergies seriously. “We’re particularly concerned about skin tests. There is absolutely no way of knowing how someone will react to chemicals, such as those present in hair dye, without a skin test. Customers must insist on a skin test if they’re not offered one.”

To test for a reaction, hair-dye manufacturers advise that a small amount of dye be applied to a client’s skin 48 hours before they have their hair dyed, says APIL.  

“The alternative can – and has – devastated people,” said Kitchener. “We’ve seen first-hand, people suffering from burns, blisters, baldness, and temporary blindness. These injuries are easily avoided.”


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14 years ago

I have a personal (close family member) experience when an anaphylactic shock type reaction resulted in the application of hair dye whereby the person was hospitalised for 7 days. Swelling of face and trachea meant the person could have choked to death if not treated urgently. The person was unrecognisable for a few days until the swelling subsided. No test was carried out by the hair dresser prior to applying the dye.