LeggyLady (leggylady) wrote,

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PSA- Serious Hair Dye Allergies CAN happen!!!!

Home hair dye kits are very popular and commonly used. So is ignoring the allergy warnings and skipping the allergy tests the companies almost beg you to use. I imploring everyone to learn from my mistake and do the allergy test! Please share this with anyone you think can benefit from it. I did not think this could happen to me and it did. If sharing this publicly can spare just one person the pain and terror I went through, it will be worth any temporary embarrassment I might have at letting you see me so very ugly and hideous. Think the allergy tests are a waste of time? Think the allergy warnings are just legal mumbo jumbo? THINK AGAIN.
I have put a cut on this entry to spare those who rather not see the pics (some of you have made it clear that you DON'T want to see them)

Some background-
1) I have a known history to allergies to hair products.
- I cannot use mousse or hair spay due to the alcohols (make my scalp break out badly).
-I have had minor to moderate burning/breakouts on my scalp and minor swelling around eyes due to permanent dyes (alcohols and ammonia). I have always been able to combat the minor swelling w/ OTCs (benedryl, claritin, etc).

2) I have never have had scalp lesions nor facial swelling w/ peroxide.

3) The dye I choose this time was a NON- permanent dye (washes out in 28 shampoos) containing peroxide, but NOT containing ammonia nor alcohols.

I choose a "gentler" dye than those that have given me *minor* problems in the past and carefully avoided ingredients that were known troublemakers. I thought about doing the allergy test but figured, "what's the worst that can happen? another minor irritation?". I actually decided to take a preemptive strike and took claritin BEFORE the dye job ( a hairdresser friend said they use that trick all the time at the salon she works). I had it all under control. Or so I thought.

-Dyed my hair on Tuesday night, 12/2/08.
-On Wednesday, I had some minor scalp irritation, which is "normal" for me. Then some minor puffing around the eyes, again can be normal for me during minor reactions. Continued to take Claritin during day and Benedryl at night.
-On Thursday-my forehead exploded so that I looked like a Neanderthal and the sides of my face swelled so my glasses barely fit. Got home from work and the eyes were getting more swollen. Took more benedryl went to bed. At this point, I should have hightailed it to the emergency room as these reactions were NOT "normal" for me. This was a sign that something was very, very wrong.
-Friday, 12/5/08- I woke up and eyes were worse. I laid w/ ice packs on my face during the time I would have been working out. Went to work figuring I had Saturday off and if I could just push through my shift.... (Can we say Dumbass??) As the morning progressed, the swelling below eyes became the size of small eggs and I was getting "black eyes". This is when I started feeling very sick - I was getting shaky, lost coordination (kept dropping things, not walking stably, etc), got severe chills, etc. About this a time coworker snapped sense into me (he could tell over the phone that I was not ok and he has had EMT training). I called a friend and she drove like a bat out of hell to come pick me up. During the 20 minute drive to the hospital, my cheeks puffed and the eye swelling got even more intense and I sported lovely fuchsia blotches all over my face.
Cut to the chase- I got to the hospital in the nick of time! Wonderful nurse put me at ease and let me and Mercedes (my angel friend) know of the possible meds the doctor might use. Doctor came in and was equally as wonderful. Nurse came back to give BOTH possible options "doctor is not monkeying around!" because things were so excelerated. Then I had to be kept under observation to make sure-
1) They actually stopped the reaction before it spread and entered my mouth and respiratory system (it WAS already at my cheeks and spreading fast). If it entered the respiratory system, death was a possible outcome (especially had I gone untreated).
2) to make sure I have no adverse effects to the meds- Solu-Medrol (via IV) and Epinephrine (injection in my stomach).
Needless to say, I did not get there a moment too soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then I had to take Predisone for the next 6 days and it was awful. The swelling coming down was even more painful than it coming in. You know when you wear something too tight and when you take it off the nerves come back to life and scream at you? Imagine that on your whole face. OUCH.

This was one of the most horrible experience of my life. If it could happen to me, it could happen to you. Please learn from my experience!!!
Do the allergy test EVEN IF
-you've never had a bad reaction
-only had mild reactions
-it is a "gentler" type
If there is a warning on the package, it is there for a reason!!!! Please follow all instructions carefully, especially the testing precautions.
IF you start to have *any* reaction, especially one not "normal" for you, get to your doctor ASAP. If you are not responding to OTCs, get to your doctor/hospital ASAP.
I made a mistake in waiting too long. Please don't make the same mistake!

I am sharing these pics with you even though I am mortified.
To repeat-if sharing these with the online world saves just one person the pain and terror I went through, it is worth the embarrassment of you seeing me so hideous and ugly.
Sadly, since they were take with a camera phone, the lighting is very poor- you can't see HOW purple and red things were. Not seeing my face in 3d also loses some perspective on just HOW puffy and extended my face really was- I am not squinting in 1st pic, my eyes were almost swollen shut. The pictures are intense, but my friend Mercedes agrees that in real life it was much, much more intense. In the pharmacy, people who have known me for YEARS, did not recognize me.

On Tuesday night, this me sporting my new "do":

On Friday afternoon, this is me at the hospital:

I am fully recovered now and very glad to be here!
Please spread the word that these reactions are possible!
Please help spare your loved ones this ordeal.
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