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Hair Dye Allergy - Reaction on Ears

By HERWriter March 10, 2016 - 11:55am
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Hello! I've been box dying my hair for years. I almost always use the same brand. This time, when I dyed my hair, i got a horrible reaction on my ears. They're swollen, red and very itchy, and have been this way for several days now. Why did I have a reaction to the dye this time, but not in the past? Was it because I used a different, darker color than I normally would use? What can I do to soothe the irritation? Thanks!

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Kaitlyn

Thanks for your post!

We can develop allergies to products we normally don't have a problem with. The environment and changes in our own body chemistry can cause this.

You really should have done a "patch test" first, as recommended. It's probably written in the instructions but since you usually use this brand you probably didn't even think about it which is normal. And always stick your hair back in a shower cap when dying your hair, making sure all skin is dye free.

Since you did make a change in color - even if it's the same brand, check the ingredients. It may be hard to discern since at home hair dyes are filled with all sorts of chemicals but you may notice a change.

There will also be a 1-800 number on the back of the box - call that customer service number and ask why this may have happened - they should also know about your reaction in case something has changed in their formulas that they may need to work on.

EmpowHER has a great article on how this may have happened to you - you can read it here: http://www.empowher.com/allergic-contact-dermatitis/content/allergic-hair-dye?page=0,0

Because your your allergy seems quite severe and since it has been several days, put a call into your doctor, you may have some sort of chemical burn and this could lead to infection. I hesitate recommending anything to use in case it causes a worse reaction although aloe gel may help sooth the burns as can butter, honey and coconut oil.

I hope this clears up soon!


March 10, 2016 - 3:27pm

Hi Kaitlyn,

Thank you for sharing your question with the EmpowHER community.

As weird as it is, developing a sudden allergy is fairly common. If your symptoms haven't subsided, perhaps you should visit an urgent care facility.  Make sure to  bring information on the product with you.

Here is some additional information for you to review:  Allergic Reaction to Hair Dye

Be well,


March 10, 2016 - 3:26pm
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