View Full Version : Why is PPD bad? (para-phenylenediamine)

August 25th, 2009, 07:25 PM
I can't believe I've been here this long and don't know the answer to this.

What is it about PPD that is bad? Is it a carcinogen?

Yes, I did a search, of course. :o No results, which is odd. I know I've seen it batted around a million times on here...always with references that it's bad; just not why.


August 25th, 2009, 07:32 PM
What does PPD stand for? The only thing I can think of is post-partum depression. If that's what you mean, I'm curious why it's not obvious to you why that would be bad.

Madame J
August 25th, 2009, 07:33 PM
Check out this (http://www.hennapage.com/henna/ppd/whybad.html) and this (http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=704389).

August 25th, 2009, 07:39 PM
It's an allergen--see this excerpt from Wikipedia:

p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) is an aromatic amine used as a component of engineering polymers and composites, aramid fibers, hair dyes, rubber chemicals, textile dyes, and pigments...

This product is added to real henna to create so called "Black Henna," which, in many cases, causes allergic reaction, and can cause scarring in some people. PPD should never be applied directly to the skin in its pure form or mixed with anything else.[/URL]

When tested by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA reported that in rats and mice chronically exposed to PPD in their diet, it simply depressed body weights, but there were no other clinical signs of toxicity, as were observed in several studies. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-Phenylenediamine#cite_note-0) There have been thirty-one published articles investigating a causal association between PPD and cancer between the years 1992-2005. Associations between personal hair dye use and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, acute leukemia, and bladder cancer were observed in at least one well-designed study with detailed exposure assessment, but were not consistently observed across studies. However, the EPA has not classified PPD as a carcinogen. Therefore, no warnings of toxicity have been printed on boxes of hair dye.

The CDC lists PPD as being a contact allergen. Exposure routes are through inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, and skin and/or eye contact; symptoms of exposure include throat irritation (pharynx and larynx), bronchial asthma, and sensitization dermatitis.

Sensitization is a lifelong issue, which may lead to active sensitization to products including, but not limited to:

Black clothing
Printer ink
Facsimile ink
Hair dye
Fur dye
Leather dye
Photographic products. One maker of this product states explicitly that PPD should not be used directly on the skin.

[URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-Phenylenediamine#cite_note-5"] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-Phenylenediamine#cite_note-4)
It was voted Allergen of the Year in 2006 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

August 25th, 2009, 07:41 PM
Other than the reasons stated above, there are also many alternatives to PPD dyes. It's generally used for a chemical black, but there are other options.(lead based ones are common, as well as other chemicals. Blanking on the names right now!)

August 25th, 2009, 07:42 PM
Oh...now I see what it means. Thanks! Thanks,

August 26th, 2009, 10:41 AM
Honestwitness - your hair looks great! **end hijack**

August 26th, 2009, 11:11 AM
So its only bad if your allergic to it??

August 26th, 2009, 11:15 AM
So its only bad if your allergic to it??

I believe so, but as with many allergies, this is one that is often garnered through repeated contact.

The more you expose yourself to it, the more likely a reaction becomes, far as I'm aware....

August 26th, 2009, 11:38 AM
I believe so, but as with many allergies, this is one that is often garnered through repeated contact.

The more you expose yourself to it, the more likely a reaction becomes, far as I'm aware....
There is also a possible cancer risk, which concerns many people. The risk of cancer from it is more proven than the risk of cancer from parabens. It's a pretty toxic substance if you eat it.

August 26th, 2009, 11:43 AM
Why is PPD bad? Interesting that you should bring that up just now, Glenna. Check out the latest essay on Going Gray Looking Great: It Happened To Me by Christine Giaimo (http://goinggraylookinggreat.com/index.php?/gray_today/article/in_the_spotlight_it_happened_to_me/). It is a horrifying tale of a severe reaction to PPD and how it impacted her whole life. Do read it and be sure to follow the links she provides.

August 26th, 2009, 11:49 AM
Reading things like this reassure me that I'm doing what I need to do to take care of myself from certain chemicals. This is why I always wash my clothes after I buy them before I wear them. Although, I usually dye my hair black once a year, so it kinda stinks that it's found mostly in black dyes:(

August 26th, 2009, 12:00 PM
I used to dye my hair black a lot when I was a teenager. My scalp always felt itchy and tight afterwards, but I ignored it. When I was about 20 or so and decided to do it again, I did the patch test on my inner arm, as recommended, and got no reaction. I did the dye job on my whole head.

This time the itching and tightness were much worse. Over the next few hours, my whole head and neck swelled up disgustingly-- my eyes were swollen almost shut. My forehead bulged out. I was in misery! I had to go to the hospital, where I was given medications to help keep the allergic reaction in check. Because the dye was absorbed in my hair shafts, I kept on reacting to it for several days, while I kept scrubbing away at it to get out as much residue as possible.

Now I can't use any dark colors of chemical dye without reacting. Lighter colors are somewhat tolerable; dark browns, burgundies, and blacks are completely off-limits. I've decided to give them all up anyway, so I guess I won't miss them. From now on, I plan to use henna and indigo to do any coloring that I decide to do.

Watch out for these chemical dyes!! I had never reacted that way before, and had no reaction to the skin test, and still had this happen!! Because I had pictures of my swollen head and non-reactive patch test, I did get the manufacturer (big-name, mainstream company) to pay part of the medical expenses.

August 26th, 2009, 01:18 PM
Thank you so much, everyone.


Apparently it isn't only in black dyes, which is why I was asking. I was thinking of playing around with a dark blonde Herbatint but I guess not now. Yikes.