Occupational exposure to allergens in oxidative hair dyes

  • Polona Zaletel
  • Marjan Bilban
  • Tomaž Lunder
Keywords: hairdressers, p-phenylenediamine, toluene-2, 5-diamine (sulphate), allergic contact dermatitis, protective gloves


Oxidative hair dyes are the most important hair dying products. Hairdressers are exposed to the allergens found in oxidative hair dyes during the process of applying dyes to the hair, when cutting freshly dyed hair, or as a consequence of prior contamination of the working environment. pphenylenediamine, toluene-2,5-diamine and its sulphate are the most common ingredients in oxidative hair dyes that cause allergic contact dermatitis in hairdressers. Cross-reactivity of p-phenylenediamine with para-amino benzoic acid, sulphonamides, sulphonylurea, dapsone, azo dyes, benzocaine, procaine, and black henna temporary tattoos is possible. Allergic contact dermatitis is classified as delayed-type hypersensitivity, according to Coombs and Gell. Skin changes typically appear on the hands after previous sensitization to causative allergens. Combined with the patient’s overall medical and work history and clinical picture, epicutaneous testing is the basic diagnostic procedure for confirming the diagnosis and identifying the causative allergens. The simplest and most effective measure for preventing the occurrence of allergic contact dermatitis in hairdressers is prevention. Preventive measures should be applied as early as in the beginning stage of vocational guidance for this profession. It is important to include health education in the process of professional training and to implement general technical safety measures, in order to reduce sensitization to allergens in hairdressing. Here, special emphasis must be given to the correct use of protective gloves. Legislation must limit the concentration of allergenic substances in hair dyes, based on their potential hazards documented by scientific research.


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How to Cite
Zaletel P, Bilban M, Lunder T. Occupational exposure to allergens in oxidative hair dyes. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1May2013 [cited 30Mar.2020];82(5). Available from: https://vestnik.szd.si/index.php/ZdravVest/article/view/643