She had to stay in hospital for over 36 hours (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
A woman was left with a blistered scalp and eyes swollen shut after a severe reaction to hair dye.
Mum-of-four Leonie Dee was hospitalised after attempting to dye her hair at home using two different colours – Schwarzkopf Live in Cosmic Blue and Ultra Violet.
Leonie, 27, tried a patch test with both colours before using them in a bid to make sure she wouldn’t have a reaction.
However, when she applied the dark blue dye to the top half of her hair, the reaction she had landed her in hospital for more than 36 hours.
Leonie, of Aberaeron, Wales, said: ‘It was really scary – at one point they were worried that the swelling might move to the front of my throat.
‘I even asked them at the hospital whether it shaving all my hair off would help. I was ready to do that if it would have made a difference.
Leonie was stunned by how much her face and head swelled (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
There were concerns the swelling could affect her breathing (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
‘But the dye had already absorbed into my scalp, so there was nothing to do but wait for the swelling and the blisters to go down.
‘I’m definitely never dyeing my hair again – I’m going to let it grow out and then just leave it.’
Leonie, who works as a cleaner for her local GP, said she used to dye her hair often as a teen, and would change the colour every time her roots started to show.
Leonie has dyed her hair many times before (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
But, since having children – now aged 11, 10, three, and six months – she had not dyed her hair in seven years, saying she ‘couldn’t be bothered’.
Leonie added: ‘I’d got to the point where I just fancied a change.
‘Because it had been so many years since I last dyed it, I was really religious about reading the pamphlet and doing the patch test, because I wanted it to be perfect.’
She says she was ‘religious’ about following the instructions (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
A patch test seemed to go smoothly, so Leonie went ahead and applied the dye (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
She tried a patch test after she bought the dyes from her local pharmacy and ‘nothing came up at all – not a mark’.
‘Then I gave it a couple of days before doing the blue hair dye on the top half of my head at about 5.30pm on Thursday,’ said Leonie.
‘When I woke up the next morning, my ears and the side of my neck had started swelling a bit, but I was able to manage it okay with just taking some anti-allergy tablets I had at home.’
However, when she woke on Saturday, she was shocked by how bad the reaction had become.
She said: ‘I woke up and my hairline was covered in these big blisters, and my eyes were swollen so much I couldn’t see anything.’
Leonie before she suffered the reaction (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
At 6pm that evening, Leonie was rushed to Aberystwyth Hospital where she spent over 36 hours.
While there, she was given steroids, anti-allergy tablets and creams, and put on a fluid drip.
She said: ‘The blisters kept popping and oozing out blue dye.
‘They had to keep the lights off above my hospital bed because the light was irritating my eyes. All I could do was sit and wait for it to get better.’
One of the dye boxes (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
Leonie has put in a complaint (Picture: Leonie Dee / SWNS)
Leonie was able to go home the following Monday morning at 10.30am, but says the swelling has yet to completely go away.
She has since done a bit more research into the Schwarzkopf hair dye and found out that the darker colours like Cosmic Blue have a higher concentration of active ingredients which she believes she reacted to.
She’s completed the first step towards making a complaint and filled in an online questionnaire for Schwarzkopf.
She said: ‘I do feel like I’ve turned a corner, and I’m feeling better in myself.
‘I just need to keep taking the medication and waiting for my hair to grow out and go back to normal.’
Schwarzkopf were approached for a statement on the matter, but declined to comment.
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