Visitor Question

Hair dye chemicals burned my scalp…

Submitted By: J (Huntley, IL)

On June 19th,, I had my hair colored at a salon in Woodstock, IL. I had complained the last time I had my hair colored that the chemicals burned my scalp. The last time, the colorist added sugar to the chemicals and that seemed to help with the burn at the time. I did have burns that continued to weep for weeks on my scalp.

This time, I discussed the burns with the colorist and she decided to use two packets of sugar.

The process was slightly different this time, as I had “low lights” done and I had not previously had those.

The next morning, my scalp and forehead were raw, my left eye was swollen shut, and I was in terrible pain. I was able to get into see my dermatologist and he quickly diagnosed it as a reaction to parapheylenediamine, which he claims is banned in every other country.

I was prescribed an oral steroid and a topical ointment. I am still suffering and contacted the company today. What can I do about this? How do I prove the salon was responsible? How much compensation can I get? I’m just not sure about any of this. Thanks for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear J,

Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is a chemical substance widely used as a permanent hair dye. It is also found in textile or fur dyes, dark coloured cosmetics, temporary tattoos, photographic developer and lithography plates, photocopying and printing inks, black rubber, oils, greases, and gasoline.

Some people have an allergic reaction to Paraphenylenediamine. Allergic reactions can range from mild dermatitis to raw skin, swollen eyes, and severe pain and discomfort. When combined with Henna, its allergic effects can last a lifetime.

While you appear to have the basis of a personal injury claim, your claim may be undermined by Illinois’s “Comparative Negligence” law. This means your injury claim’s potential settlement amount may be decreased by the percentage of your own negligence.

In your case, you sustained burns to your scalp in a visit once before June 19th. You again sustained burns on June 19th. In the face of these burns, you decided to go back for a third treatment. These multiple visits can be construed as comparative negligence.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a valid personal injury claim. But instead, your claim may be compromised by the degree of your comparative negligence.

Before proceeding, check with your dermatologist to see if you may be one of the unfortunate people who will suffer lifetime effects from the application of Paraphenylenediamine. If so, contact a personal injury attorney in your area.

This is the type of claim you should not handle yourself. A case like this will require expert testimony, depositions, interrogatories, and other complex pretrial discovery.

Learn more here: Beauty Salon Injury Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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