I first spotted a grey hair in my early twenties and was a little bit shocked to say the least. It’s not that I hated grey hair or anything, it was the fact that I hadn’t even thought about it happening.
It’s not something you usually think about in your twenties…Have I got enough money to go out tonight – check, Do I have grey hair? – check!!
Being a very dark brunette, pretty much jet black hair, that grey hair stood out a mile and what with it’s different nature stood up very proudly on my head, but not for long as I yanked it out. Over the next few months I spotted more and I just wasn’t ready for them.
Being a low maintenance kind of girl, I popped along to Boots and bought some hair dye and applied it to my head. To be honest I really couldn’t tell the difference and the colour hadn’t changed either. My head got very itchy very quickly but just thought the dye had dried my hair out.
I woke in the middle of the night with what felt like a very stiff neck, I couldn’t move my head very much and my head was burning and weeping. I went to the mirror to check myself out. I got quite a shock, the reflection starring back at me looked like I had swallowed myself. My head and neck had swollen to twice their normal size and my eyes had swollen too. I looked like I had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson and hadn’t move from my bed.
Luckily I was at home with the parents for the weekend and I sheepishly knocked on their bedroom door at 4am in the morning (like I was 5 and going to tell them I don’t feel very well). I remember saying to my mum “Don’t worry and don’t turn the light on but I have a very swollen head” bang went on the light and I scared the living daylights out of all of us.
We drove to A&E straight away and got seen very quickly (I do love the NHS they have saved me on many an occasion.) The doctor was brilliant and put me on some very heavy steroids via a drip, and antihistamine and other medication to apply to my scalp. I was very lucky as my throat had started to swell and my breathing had got more restricted but we acted quickly and so did the hospital. It took about 2 weeks for all the swelling to go down and for me to be able to wash my hair.
The allergic reaction had occurred due to the allergy I had from the PPD’s in the Black Henna Tattoo I had a few years previously.
The moral of this story is:
Don’t get a black henna tattoo and always have a patch test done first when colouring your hair.
When I had my henna tattoo on holiday, I had no idea there was a difference between black henna and real henna.
But when I became allergic to the Black Henna, the doctor said that there was no way I would have had the same reaction had it been real henna (obviously some people can be allergic to anything but it is less likely from a natural substance).
Black Henna contains chemicals (PPD’s) to enhance the black pigment in the tattoo so that it is a darker black (like a real tattoo) and the paste can contain illegal amounts within the dye. PPDs can cause serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis shock.
Please, please ensure that you do not go for black henna (or have a skin patch test first) but the real henna, see this link to the NHS website about the dangers and how to tell the difference between the two hennas.
5 things to do if you have had an allergic reaction to Black Henna
- If to hand, take an antihistamine tablet or medicine
- Go straight away to the doctors or to A&E, it will only get worse if you don’t get it treated.
- Do not put water on the affected area – Water will only make the dye penetrate the skin further
- Do not put anything on the skin until the doctor has seen you, this will irritate the skin further
- Make sure you go to a Doctors or A&E straight away and inform them that it is an allergic reaction (yes I know 5 is the same as 2 but it is very important to get seen.)