Five days after having a bleach done on my hair my eczema has flared up - is this due to the bleach?

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This is really a skin and hair problem. I had bleach highlights done two weeks ago, I now realise it was a silly thing to do as although the bleach doesn't touch the scalp I have extremely sensitive skin and have suffered from eczema for 30 years.

I know what tends to exacerbate it and have kept it under control for the past few years but in the last five days the sides of my face and neck have come out in sore, red, bumpy patches and even a mild steroid cream isn't soothing it. Is it possible to have a delayed reaction like this, especially as the dye hasn't been in direct contact with my skin?

Are there 'residues' of bleach in contact with skin even after washing it out? Also, is it possible for bleach highlights to contain PPD?

Please help!

Many thanks,

Anon, UK

There is a chance that your skin has reacted to the bleach, though bleach (if properly washed out) does not leave a residue. In this instance I think your safest bet would be to consult your doctor.

Joseph Koniak, Artistic Director of Joseph Koniak and Eleven Hair, London 

I am sorry to hear about your problem. I would go and visit your GP to get more of an in-depth medical answer or go see a dermatologist who really can identify the cause of this. As far as the delayed reaction is concerned, I have never heard of it happening days later. Normally this sort of thing happens within a few hours or a day.

If whoever shampooed your hair did it thoroughly there should be no bleach residue remaining in your hair, especially on your scalp. Hair bleach doesn't contain PPD, this chemical is a synthetic dye that adds colour to the hair (such as black, red, brown and certain blonde tones). Whereas bleach just removes natural and synthetic pigment and doesn't need this ingredient.

John Clark, Head of Colour at Brooks+Brooks, London

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