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Woman suffers horrific allergic reaction to hair dye that left her 'blind' for three days

Ali Condon

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| Last updated 

Woman suffers horrific allergic reaction to hair dye that left her 'blind' for three days

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media

A woman was left looking like an 'emoji' after suffering an allergic reaction that caused her entire head to swell and left her 'blind' for three days.

Shanika McNeil, 29, claims that it was a bad reaction to her hair dye that made her head blow up like a balloon and her skin to break out in a rash.

Just hours after dying her hair black, Shanika's forehead began to swell and her scalp started to burn.

The tech coordinator joked that, as the swelling spread, she started to look like an 'emoji', but the situation became far less funny when doctors warned that the swelling could travel to her throat and suffocate her.

 Shanika McNeil claims it was a bad reaction to her hair dye that caused her head to swell like a balloon. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Shanika McNeil claims it was a bad reaction to her hair dye that caused her head to swell like a balloon. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Recalling the frightening incident, she said: "I went to the doctor and took the dye with me because I knew it was that and he told me that it was an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the dye called PPD (paraphenylenediamine)."

Shanika was sent home with steroids and antihistamines to help with the pain and swelling, but it took almost two weeks before her face went back to normal.

"Every hour I looked at myself and my forehead was getting bigger and the swelling was worse. I was laughing at myself because I did look extremely funny", she admitted.

"It looked like I was an emoji, it was very weird. My whole family was panicking because I looked so strange. A lot of people said I looked like I was in a fight."

She said she looked like an emoji. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
She said she looked like an emoji. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

The bizarre reaction suddenly got less funny when the pain kicked back in and Shanika's eyes were swollen shut. She even had to take time off work while she waited for the swelling to subside.

"I tried to ice them and they would go down a little bit but then they would get bigger every time. I had bruises under my eyes because the swelling was so bad", she recalled.

"My family were extremely worried because my head was so swollen so I called my doctor.

"He told me if the swelling was getting worse then I needed to go to the emergency room as soon as possible because the swelling could move down to my throat and I could die.

"So I went to the emergency room and they were all pretty shocked at how I looked and they gave me more steroids and antihistamines. I was probably there about three or four hours before the swelling stopped and then they let me go.

Shanika claims the reaction even left her with bald spots, eczema and a scalp so sensitive that it hurts to brush her hair.

Shanika had to take time off work due to the pain caused by the reaction. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Shanika had to take time off work due to the pain caused by the reaction. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

She now believes that she missed earlier signs that she was allergic to the dye, noting that she had been suffering from scalp sensitivity over the previous year but had never linked it to hair dye before.

After suffering the allergic reaction, Shanika is warning others to take a patch test every time they use dye to make sure that they haven't developed an allergy, and to look out for any signs of sensitivity.

"I haven't dyed my hair since and I don't have any intentions of doing it - I'm so scared to put any type of chemical on my scalp," she said.

"I've told people to do a patch test every time they use it [dye] and if you are sensitive to it, look for a dye that doesn't have PPD in it."

Topics: Beauty, Hair, Health

Ali Condon
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