P-phenylenediamine PPD

P-phenylenediamine or PPD is a chemical component found in many hair dyes that are used both in salons and for home use. These hair dyes usually come in two bottles, one containing the PPD dye and the other containing the developer or oxidizer.
PPD is a known skin sensitizer and has been found to cause many severe allergic reactions including redness, rashes, sores, burning sensations, itching and headaches. There have also been some rare cases of permanent hair loss and one case of death due to a severe allergic reaction following exposure. This chemical may also be a possible carcinogen after oxidisidisation increasing the possibility of developing certain types of cancer.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the best ways to avoid exposure are:
• Avoid dying your hair all together
• Reading Labels and looking for the following chemical names: p-phenylenediamine, para-phenylenediamine, 4-aminoaniline; 1,4-benzenediamine; p-diaminobenzene;1,4-diaminobenzene; 1,4-phenylene diamine
• Salon workers who are exposed hair dyes on a regular basis should wear protective gear, including gloves and protective wear on the face.

By Sarah Newcombe


Berriedale-Johnson, M. (2017). The dangers of PPD (paraphenylenediamine) hair dye. [online] Michelle’s blog. Available at: http://www.michellesblog.co.uk/the-dangers-of-ppd-paraphenylenediamine-hair-dye/ [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].

David Suzuki Foundation. (2017). Coal Tar Dyes. [online] Available at: http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics—coal-tar-dyes/ [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].

Safe Cosmetics. (2017). P-Phenylenediamine – Safe Cosmetics. [online] Available at: http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/p-phenylenediamine/ [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].

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