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Contact Dermatitis

What is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the scalp caused by a reaction to an irritant or allergen. The most severe (and most publicised) form of it is anaphylaxis from hair colouring — but this only occurs in a very small percentage of people. More commonly, contact dermatitis produces a milder reaction characterised by an eczema-like irritation of the scalp.

Causes of Contact Dermatitis

A reaction can be brought on by many things, most commonly:

  • sensitivity to a specific ingredient in one of your hair products
  • sensitivity to a hair dye
  • sensitivity to a chemical straightener
  • stress
  • an existing or newly-acquired food intolerance
  • the combination of the products you use to style your hair.

Patch-testing can often determine the cause of contact dermatitis, so you may avoid the irritant or allergen. However, this can be difficult if the ingredient to which you are sensitive is commonly used.