Hair dye turns girl into “Elephant Man”

An aspiring model was left looking ‘like the Elephant Man’ following an allergic reaction to hair dye.

Chloe Robins, 14, was rushed to hospital after her mother Joanna used a home dying kit to colour her hair.

The teenager from Hampshire, UK started getting an itchy scalp after using the semi-permanent black dye, which contains chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD).

But less than 48 hours later her head and neck swelled to twice their normal size and she was being violently sick and struggling to breathe.

She began screaming and vomiting before collapsing in agony at a friend’s house.

Chloe, who is studying for her GCSEs, wanted to dye her hair as part of her Halloween zombie costume.

She said: ‘I bought it because I was dressing up as a zombie and I thought it would be fine.

‘Mum did the patch and strand test and there was no reaction so we put it on my hair.

‘But it got worse and worse. My head started itching and like crazy then I got a horrible rash on my head then it started spreading and swelling.

‘I was sick and I was so scared. I thought I was going to die over a hair dye.

‘It made me look so different. My face went as round as a plate and my eyes looked like a frog. It was like the elephant man.’

Her mother applied the dye on Saturday night and Chloe started getting a reaction on Sunday morning. By Monday she was unrecognisable.

Ms Robins added: ‘She really wanted to make the effort for Halloween and look what happened.

‘It started so slowly and got so severe all of a sudden.

‘It was as if ever pore in her head was oozing yellow pus and her hair was like she had pored glue on it. We didn’t even recognise her.

‘We didn’t know when it was going to stop. We thought her head was going to explode.’

Both Chloe and her mother fear her dream career as a model could be ruined by the dye.

Ms Robins said: ‘Chloe will be affected for life and her career as a model could be ruined.

‘People need to know what PPD is. Other people have suffered just like my daughter. If something had been done about it she would not have had to go through this.

‘The doctors who treated Chloe said this was a very common problem. Take it off the shelves now.’

Ms Robins has not been able to reveal the brand of the hair dye because of legal proceedings against the company but called it ‘a major high street brand’.

A solicitor Greg Almond has launched a campaign to ban PPD and two Parliamentary questions on the issue will be heard in the House of Commons.

Mr Almond said: ‘Some estimates put those exposed to these products in the UK at one million.

‘It is fast becoming an issue with PPD in many off the shelf hair care products. Action needs to be taken.

‘PPD can be dangerous and can cause uncomfortable dermatitis, which is why American Contact Dermatitis Society has effectively labelled it public enemy number one.’

Scalp and hair medical expert Carol Walker, from Birmingham Trichology Centre, added: ‘I have been calling for a ban or a restriction on products containing PPD for a number of years.

‘I hope that together we will force the government to investigate this issue urgently.’

Chloe’s reaction comes just weeks after 17-year-old Tabatha McCourt died following a violent fit which struck her 20 minutes after colouring her hair.


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