Don't ignore those patch tests recommendations, you guys. ​

By Faith Brar
Photo: Le Parisien / YouTube

If you've ever box-dyed your hair, it's likely that your biggest fear is a botched color job, forcing you to spend big bucks at the salon anyway. But from the looks of this story of a 19-year-old from France, those at-home dye jobs can have much more serious consequences.

First reported by Le Parisien, Estelle (whose chosen to keep her last name private) was admitted to the hospital after suffering from a severe allergic reaction to hair dye. Apparently, the product caused her head and face to swell up to nearly double the normal size-something that put her life at risk.

It happened almost instantly, Estelle revealed. Within moments of applying the dye, she felt irritation on her scalp, followed by swelling, according to Le Parisien. At the time though, Estelle didn't take it very seriously and popped a couple antihistamines before going to bed. When she woke up, her head and face had swollen by nearly 3 inches.

What Estelle didn't realize was that the hair dye she'd bought had the chemical PPD (paraphenylenediamine) in it. While it's a common ingredient used in dyes-and is FDA-approved, BTW-it's known to cause severe allergic reactions. That's why the box recommended doing a patch test and waiting 48 hours before applying the dye to your head. Estelle told Le Parisien that she did, in fact, do the patch test, but only left the dye on her skin for 30 minutes before assuming she'd be fine. (Related: This Woman Found 100 Mites In Her Eyes After Not Washing Her Pillowcase for 5 Years)

By the time Estelle was rushed to the hospital, her tongue had begun swelling as well. "I could not breathe," she told Le Parisien, adding she thought she was going to die.

"Before arriving at the hospital, you just don't know how long it will take for you to suffocate if you have the time to get to the hospital or not," she told Newsweek of the incident. Luckily, doctors were able to give her an adrenaline shot, which is used to rapidly reduce swelling, and kept her overnight for observation before sending her home.

"I pretty much laugh at myself because of the incredible shape of my head," she said.

Estelle says she now hopes that others can learn from her mistakes. "My biggest message is to tell people to be more vigilant with products like this, because the consequences could be fatal," she said. (Related: How to Make the Switch to a Clean, Nontoxic Beauty Regimen)

Most of all, she hopes that companies are more open and honest about PPD and how dangerous it can actually be. "I want the companies who sell these products to make their warning more clear and more visible," she said of the packaging.

While Estelle's reaction to PPD might be rare (only 6.2 percent of North Americans are actually allergic-and usually don't present such extreme symptoms) it's important to read warning labels on boxes carefully and follow recommendations and guidelines.

You know what they say: It's better to be safe than sorry. Watch Estelle share her experience below:


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