Hair dye contact allergy: quantitative exposure assessment of selected products and clinical cases

Heidi Søsted, Suresh Chandra Rastogi, Klaus Ejner Andersen, Jeanne Duus Johansen, Torkil Menné

52 Citations (Scopus)


Colouring of hair can cause severe allergic contact dermatitis. The most frequently reported hair dye allergens are p-phenylenediamine (PPD) and toluene-2,5-diamine, which are included in, respectively, the patch test standard series and the hairdressers series. The aim of the present study was to identify dye precursors and couplers in hair dyeing products causing clinical hair dye dermatitis and to compare the data with the contents of these compounds in a randomly selected set of similar products. The patient material comprised 9 cases of characteristic clinical allergic hair dye reaction, where exposure history and patch testing had identified a specific hair dye product as the cause of the reaction. The 9 products used by the patients were subjected to chemical analysis. 8 hair dye products contained toluene-2,5-diamine (0.18 to 0.98%). PPD (0.27%) was found in 1 product, and m-aminophenol (0.015 to 0.38%) and p-aminophenol (0.16 to 2.1%) were found in 3 products. The concentration levels were similar in the patient's products compared to a random sample of 16 hair dye products. The concentration present of toluene-2,5-diamine elicited allergic reactions in concentrations that were 10-fold lower than the legal EU limit of 10%. Hair dye allergy may cause severe clinical reactions, and the current regulation is insufficient in protection of the users. A preventive strategy is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)344-8
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Acute Disease
  • Aminophenols
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact
  • Hair Dyes
  • Humans
  • Phenylenediamines
  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Hair dye contact allergy: quantitative exposure assessment of selected products and clinical cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this