Mom Who Dyed Her Hair at Home Hospitalized After Horrifying Reaction

hair dye reaction

Do you color your own hair? If so, reading this may have you running to the salon or going back to your natural shade.

Though she'd colored her hair for the past two decades using the same product, 41-year-old mom Tina Littlewood found herself in the hospital recently after suffering a severe reaction to a Clairol Nice 'n Easy Highlight Kit

After testing a patch of hair as directed, the waitress then used the dye on the rest of her hair in an attempt to cover her grays before visiting her son. Twenty minutes later, her scalp became itchy and irritated -- but she tried to ignore the initial discomfort and went to sleep. 

When she woke up the next morning, however, one of Littlewood's eyes was swollen shut. But that's not the worst part: Her whole head had swelled to the size of a football, she said. 


More from The Stir: 6 Insider Tips for Coloring Your Hair at Home

Though she went to the hospital and was treated with steroid injections, antibiotics, and antihistamines, Littlewood's condition got worse before it got better. When both eyes swelled shut, the frantic British mom feared that losing her sight might be the least of her worries.

"It was so terrifying that at one point I thought, 'This is it, it’s over -- I’m going to die because of a hair color,'" she told the Daily Mail.

While I haven't experienced this myself, I remember my mom, who used home hair coloring kits for decades, would often complain of tingling sensations at the base of her neck just after applying the dye. Many times she'd switch brands trying to find one that didn't cause any skin irritation or strange symptoms. 

But a Clairol spokesman said that what happened to Littlewood is highly unusual and explained:

The safety of the people who use our products is our first and most important priority, so we’re concerned to hear about this.

Allergic reactions are very rare and hair colorants are extensively researched to ensure they are safe when used as directed.

Dyeing your hair at home is certainly a less expensive option -- but do horror stories like this make you think twice about doing it? 

hair dye at home

Being afraid of turning my light brown hair orange, I've been going to a salon for highlights for years. (I have a friend who colored her hair at home to save cash for an upcoming vacation and ended up looking like the comedian Carrot Top.) Sometimes I feel like the dye has caused eczema at the base of my neck to worsen. I even tried an organic salon, but the same thing happened. So what gives? 

Everyone jokes that beauty comes at a price -- but what happened to Littlewood definitely makes you wonder if covering your grays or lightening your hair is ever truly worth it.

Do you dye your hair? Have you ever had a reaction to it?

Images © GARO/phanie/Phanie Sarl/Corbis and YouTube

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