Never say dye?

Some of  her beauty aids were said to be poisonous, but she never shunned them, since she simply had to look stunning!

Ancient records show that dyes used on the skin and hair were made from berries, bark of trees, minerals, insects, nuts, herbs, leaves etc.

Although eye paint was the most popular of all cosmetics, henna was used to impart a reddish tint to the hair and is used to this day. The first recorded use of henna as a colouring agent was in 1500 BC.

Grey hair is one of the first and most telling signals of ageing, but not all  of us are able to accept it and seek to mask it with expensive colours.

If older individuals aim at covering up their grey strands, the younger ones use colour streaks to add glamour to their looks.

Why does hair colour hold such fascination? Hair colour can be that magic wand that instantly transforms dull, mousy hair  into glorious tresses that shimmer and shine.  It can also instantly erase the ravages of time.

But when allergies start working overtime, instead of looking gorgeous and young, the face and skin can end up looking disastrous.

Getting the perfect hair colour sometimes comes with a price in the form of painful rashes, itching and other reactions for those who cannot tolerate hair dyes.

The incidence of hair dye allergy is actually on the rise as people use products more frequently and from an earlier age to cover premature greying, due to stress and pollution.

Many allergic reactions to hair dyes are linked to industrially formulated chemicals used as their ingredients.

Most allergic reactions are caused by PPD or Paraphenylenediamine, a chemical found in more than two-thirds of commercial dyes.

PPD can penetrate the skin and has been linked to asthma and skin irritation. The chemical is banned in some countries because it is considered dangerous.

Dr Gurcharan Singh, a dermatologist, says: “Most branded colours have PPD that gives you rich colour but is very harmful for the hair and the skin as it penetrates into the blood stream, through the scalp, and can cause long-term complications on health.”

According to Dr Singh, the most common problems of colouring on one’s hair indiscriminately and frequently are hair-shaft damage, dry and rough hair, darkening of the forehead and hair loss.

Dr Pranjal Shamsher, dermatologist, says: “The commonest symptoms that I have come across in my practice are itching and darkening of the facial skin, especially around the earlobes. Women with long hair start showing pigmentation even on the back or around the neck. Unusual dryness of the face, which is not relieved even after moisturising is another common symptom.

The allergies and allergens can vary from person to person.”

*Experts say that hair dye allergy can be prevented by first applying a small amount of the solution of the product on the wrist or behind the ears.

*Allow the solution to remain on the skin for a period of 25-30 minutes and then wash it off with water.

*These areas of the body have delicate skin, hence they are ideal to test for any allergic reaction.

*After washing off the solution, keep a check on the appearance of the skin for a period of 24 hours.

*If the skin becomes red, irritated or shows development of blisters, then discarding this hair care product is recommended to be on the safer side.

Colour safely, or age gracefully.

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