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What precautions should I take when I dye my hair?

The best way to ensure that you don't have an allergic reaction when coloring your hair is to test the dye first on a small patch of your skin. Never leave the dye on for longer than the directions recommend, follow the instructions carefully, and rinse the dye out of your hair thoroughly when finished.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Read all package instructions before using hair dye. Consider trying a small sample of hair dye on a patch of skin, such as your inner arm, before applying it to your hair. If your skin develops a rash within a few days, you may be allergic to the hair dye. Also follow these additional precautions:
  • Never apply hair dye to your eyebrows or eyelashes.
  • Never mix hair dye products.
  • Wear gloves when applying hair dye.
  • Don't leave dye in place longer than instructed.
  • Keep hair dye away from children.
You should follow these safety tips when dyeing your hair:

Don't leave the dye on your head any longer than needed. Rinse your scalp thoroughly with water after use. Wear gloves when applying hair dye. Carefully follow the directions in the hair dye package. Never mix different hair dye products.

Be sure to do a patch test for allergic reactions before applying the dye to your hair. Almost all hair dye products include instructions for doing a patch test. It's important to do this each time you dye your hair. Your hairdresser should also do the patch test before dyeing your hair. To test, put a dab of hair dye behind your ear, and don't wash it off for two days. If you don't have any signs of allergic reaction, such as itching, burning, or redness at the test spot, you can be somewhat sure that you won't have a reaction to the dye applied to your hair. If you do react to the patch test, do the same test with different brands or colors until you find one to which you're not allergic.

Never dye your eyebrows or eyelashes. An allergic reaction to dye could cause swelling or increase risk of infection in the eye area. This can harm the eye and even cause blindness. Spilling dye into the eye by accident could also cause permanent damage. FDA bans the use of hair dyes for eyelash and eyebrow tinting or dyeing even in beauty salons.

This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.