Lifestyle| Patch Test – Why doing this before you dye your hair is SO important!

Admittedly, I didn’t truly appreciate these tests until recently. I have had my hair died in a salon before, done the allergy test – no issues and then spent the next couple of years playing about with natural colours/looks. However, I recently moved to a different salon, so started the process again… Test patch, little bit of tingle…. Thought nothing of it. This was until I felt behind my ear to discover it had blistered the skin, and I was infact having  quite a nasty reaction. I lightly washed the dye off, counted my lucky stars and informed the salon right away. It did get me thinking though…

How many of us moan about having this test?

How many buy home kits and just go straight into dying?

I’ll hold my hands up and say I was one of them!  I’ve since tried somewhere else, that uses different products. Reacted to one within about 5 minutes, and the other dye was absolutely fine, so clearly there are products out there that can still work for slightly more delicate skin. You just need to go through a little agro finding them I guess first! The patch does tingle, so give it a little bit of leeway, anything more than that though, gently wash it off your skin.

Part of my own reaction – picked up thanks to patch test

Please do make sure you patch test any hair dye before use, you never know what might happen, and even just with a quick google the results can be terrifying without one.

What is Patch Testing?

Patch testing is a procedure carried out by hairdressers and colour technicians before applying hair colour to your scalp. This is usually done at least 48 hours before your appointment. It is a simple and safe way of identifying whether the hair dye that the stylist intends to use will cause an allergic reaction with the skin.

The reason patch testing is used is to ensure that the chemicals in the hair dye are safe to use on each individual.

Why is it Necessary?

Patch testing is essential to ensure that the all active ingredients, do not cause any sign of an allergic reaction.

Hair salons will use a patch test to ensure the safety of their clients by using a small amount (usually on a cotton bud) to see if the hair dye causes a reaction on the skin.

A patch test is only required when hair dye comes into contact with the scalp. However it is still important to do a patch test for other colour treatments such as hair highlights where foils are used, as the foils can leak and come into contact with the skin.


What Does it Involve?

The patch test will usually be done 48 hours prior to the appointment, and literally takes 5 seconds for them to do. If the test produces a reaction the client’s skin then the hair dye, then the hair dye should not be applied.

Prior to the patch test your hair dresser should ask a few questions to ensure that it is safe to apply the colour sample to your skin for the patch test.

The stylist will then apply a small amount the hair dye mixture on the skin, usually behind the ear and advise the client that it should not be washed for the next 48 hours.

What Should I Do if I Have a Reaction?

If you do have an allergic reaction to the patch test you will not be able to use any oxidation type hair dyes.

You should also alert your Doctor to let them know that you have had an allergic reaction to Paraphenylenediamine (if contains).



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