I have an allergy to PPD, can I still have foils?

You are here


I seem to have had a mild allergy to PPD (it only occurs when my roots are coloured with base six) and it affects my face, which becomes red, hot and itchy, approximately four days after colour.

When highlighted only it's fine. I am going grey and I am naturally dark. Can I have foils to prevent it touching my scalp or will I need to go blonde? Also, is blonde safe with a PPD allergy?

Thanks for any help...I'm too young to be grey, I'm only 30! X

Anna, Leeds

Hi Anna,

Paraphenylenediamine known in short (PPD) is a chemical substance that is widely used as a permanent hair dye. The use of PPD as a hair dye is popular because it is a permanent dye that gives a natural look. Hair can also be shampooed without becoming discoloured. 

The darker the colour is the more PPD is contained. Lighter colour, less PPD needed. Lifting colour means basically no PPD is used, because colour is taken out - which is why lifting colour does not harm you. 

'Silky' from Neil & Wolf is a new colour system we started using at our salon, they use less PPD in their colours. Our clients are happy and experience more vibrant natural colours and shiny well conditioned hair, we skin test all our clients and have not had any reaction to 'Silky' colours. Maybe you should try this colour but definitely have a skin test at least 24 hours before your colour is applied.

Here is the Neil & Wolf Facebook site which may help you find a salon near you, who uses 'Silky' https://www.facebook.com/NealandWolf 

You should be able to have lowlights, (dark streaks) as long as the colour does not touch your scalp. Ask your stylist to be extra careful when rinsing the colour off, a colour protecting shampoo should be used.

Anna, I wish you happier hair colour experiences in the future.

Pierre Alexandre of Pierre Alexandre, Manchester

An allergy to PPD is unfortunate and I am sorry to hear about it. I would stop having your hair tinted all over immediately as your allergy could be made worse by doing so which is quite dangerous.

Lighter shades do contain less PPD but that doesn't mean that they are free of the ingredient, bleaching products don't usually contain it (as they are used to lighten hair and not deposit artificial pigment).

Sometimes you can have a mixture of shades put in foils to mask the greys and give a multi tonal effect which is nice.

Personally I would avoid having any colour treatments, including highlights and lowlights as the product may still come into contact with the scalp when being applied or rinsed off.

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

Related Articles