PPD or as its not commonly known, paraphenylenediamine.
It’s an oxidative substance, used in hair colouring.
When combined with hydrogen peroxide, and most commonly ammonia, together creates a chemical reaction allowing the hair colour molecules to penetrate the cuticle, or outside layer of the hair, change the molecules within the hair cortex, and remain there.
The amounts needed to successfully permanently colour hair, and in particular grey or white hair varies, with higher levels found in darker colours.
Concerns with PPD in Hair Colour
As with many toxins* our bodies often react when applied to the skin, ingested or inhaled.
What does this mean?
Skin irritation, dermatitis, and an organ toxicity response within the immune system itself.
As a hairdresser, this is the main reason we use a skin sensitivity test prior to having an on scalp colour service.
Even if you have used the same brand safely for years, changes within your body are happening constantly.
Most professionals with 20 years+ experience have had at least one client that has experienced a reaction to hair colour.
An almost instant reddening of the skin, itching, increase in skin temperature, and in severe cases, skin burns.
Making us particularly aware of the fact we are ourselves working with chemicals daily in an increasingly toxic world.
I made a choice a number of years ago now to reduce my exposure to environmental toxins. Which is when I switched brands and joined Organic Colour Systems.
Many popular brands are legally allowed, and use up to 4% PPDs in their darker colours.
The maximum used by Organic Colour Systems is 1%, more commonly though its 0.29%. Making me feel confident, after a lifetime in the hair industry, that I have partnered with a company committed to the health & well-being of both clients and hairdresser alike.
Alternatives if you have sensitivity to hair colour
All is not lost if you find yourself temporarily, or permanently sensitive to permanent hair colour.
- Try semi-permanent options – no PPDs
- Foiling the colour, means it is ‘off scalp’.
- Talk to your hairdresser about how you might grow your colour out
And remember you body is giving you valuable feedback, listen to what its telling you.
(*Definition of toxin: a poison of plant or animal origin, especially one produced by or derived from microorganisms and acting as an antigen in the body).