Texas woman's face swells after allergic reaction to hair dye

A Texas woman shared photos of her extreme allergic reaction to hair dye after having her hair colored in mid-March. In the photos, the woman’s eyes are completely swollen shut and her face is unnaturally puffy.

Chemese Armstrong, 34, of Abilene, Texas went to have her hair colored at a salon in Austin because they used henna, a temporary plant-based dye. Three years ago, she realized she had an allergy to paraphenylenediamine, a chemical used in permanent hair dye, she said on a video posted on Youtube. Her dermatologist suggested using henna as a natural alternative.

Armstrong explained to the stylist that she could not use chemicals in her hair and the stylist did a strand test, applying the henna to a small section of her hair for 30 minutes. There was no reaction and the stylist treated the rest of her hair. Armstrong was told to leave the dye for two hours before washing it out.

Once back home, she thoroughly washed her hair and went to the gym, but found herself scratching her scalp due to irritation. The next morning, she was in severe pain and her face and scalp were swollen and getting worse. The next day, her right eye was swollen shut and she went to the doctor’s office, where she was given a shot to manage the swelling. The swelling worsened, spreading to her neck, and she went to the ER. It took her over a week to fully recover.

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According to Armstrong’s post on Instagram, the henna dye she used did in fact contain paraphenylenediamine. She reached out to the unnamed salon but did not receive a response.

“It just made me realize that I need to pay more attention to what I put in my body and what I put on my body,” she said in a Youtube video posted March 14.