After attempting an at-home hair dye job, one French student was left with an extreme allergic reaction that made her head grow nearly twice its size, almost killing her.

Estelle, 19, says before using the product, she conducted a patch test as recommended but only left the product on for 30 minutes instead of the full 48 hours.

The dye contained a chemical PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which is an ingredient that is commonly found in many dyes.

But despite the ingredient being mainstream, a reaction to the substance can be life-threatening, as it could cause renal failure, rapid swelling, respiratory failure and kidney damage.

PPD is also commonly found in henna tattoos and dark-coloured beauty products.

Speaking to Le Parisien, Estelle said she noticed something was wrong almost immediately as her scalp felt irritated and started to swell.

After taking a few antihistamines she didn’t see improvement, as the next day her head measured a whopping 24.8 inches instead of the average 22 inches.


“I could not breathe. I had a lightbulb head,” she said.

She was then rushed to the emergency room after other areas of her body such as her tongue began to expand in size. Staff injected adrenaline and forced her to stay the night as her condition worsened by the hour.

Since then, Estelle has fully recovered, but is sharing her story to advise others to be careful when using hair dyes at home.

PPD is a chemical found in many hair dyes, especially shades that are on the darker spectrum. The law states that only 2 per cent of PPD can be used in hair dyes and the product Estelle used contained 1 per cent.

Maybe this is a sign for us to rock grey hair?

Will you still dye your hair after reading this cautionary tale? Let us know in the comments below.

Article created in partnership with Over60