Para-phenylenediamine, also known as PPD, is an agent used in many hair products – particularly hair dyes - that can trigger allergic reactions in many people. As such there are many PPD free products that aim to offer the same hair care benefits without the risks and these are more and more being preferred over those that include the agent.
One reason for this is that cases of PDD allergies are seemingly rising, of course increasing the need for PDD free products. The most common form of reactions to PDD are facial swelling and dermatitis causing dry flaky skin and other problems. Of course for a product that is intended for cosmetic uses, this can be quite counterproductive. At the same time it might be painful or unpleasant and is generally not the preferable result of using a product you paid good money for.
Studies have found that there has been a doubling in dermatitis in adults over the last six years taking it from 3.55% to 7.1%. Recent findings also suggest that in just one clinic you can expect to find around 40 cases of PDD allergy per year. The increase in incidences is no doubt a result of an increase in use of hair dye products. A survey conducted several years ago indicated that roughly 41% of school students used hair dyes, while 85% of women in their 20s and 33% of men in their 20s had at some point used hair dyes – and it’s likely that these figures will have since grown further.
This has lead in some countries such as Germany, to PDD being completely banned so that no PDD can be present in any hair dyes. Despite that in the majority of the Western world the proportion of hair dyes including PDD is around 2/3rds meaning that if you dye your hair you are likely to encounter it. For these reasons it is important to be vigilant and look out for signs of allergy.
If you notice any facial swelling or dermatitis, particularly around the top of the forehead near the hairline, then there is a good chance that this is caused by a PDD allergy. If you suffer from such an allergy, then you should look into ways to replace your hair dyes. One method is to look for hair products marked as PDD free, and there are several of these around, many of which can be found online. Another method is to use natural bodycare products such as natural shampoo, which will use entirely naturally occurring ingredients and will be less likely to contain anything that could damage your skin or cause an allergic reaction.
Finally, hypoallergenic hair products are those that are designed to have very few allergens in them and so to be useable by the maximum number of people without causing an allergic reaction. Look for products that are PDD free or hypoallergenic to be on the safe side, even if you don't already suffer from a PDD allergy or other similar allergies that you are aware of.