Painful, Nasty Rash after Coloring…Oh My!

Ashy remenants of a painful, crusty rash that developed after coloring my hair a week ago today. As you can see, I also have some minor hair loss in the kitchen area. Fortunately no other areas of my scalp seem to be affected.

Ewe… I ended up getting this nasty rash after coloring my hair last Sunday. At first I just thought that I was pulling my braids too tightly into a ponytail cause by Monday afternoon, it hurt so bad that I took my barrette out. But just tilting my head back was painful. By Wednesday I asked my mom to look at it and she said she was seeing crusty looking bumps. Yuck. By Saturday, I was picking black scabs off my scalp. This morning, I looked in the mirror and could tell that some of my hair had broken off right at the scalp just leaving a little peach fuzzy feeling. I now have two bald spots back there one a little bigger than the other. Doesn’t look like it’s getting any worse though.

I even have a few bumps and scabs down my neck and shoulder. What the heck? Ok…that’s where the towel was against my neck and back the majority of the time…so in retrospect, my back and shoulders would have been exposed to the hair dye that had gotten on the towel as well.

I can only speculate that the dye did it. I do remember scratching back there and then stopping cause I didn’t want to be breaking the skin before coloring. I also left the color on a little longer than the recommended 45 minutes because we were looking for shampoo. So maybe it was on 50 minutes instead of the recommended 45.

The only other thing is that I did use a different hair product that contains the dreaded mineral oil. So in retrospect, I’m not sure what caused this…the dye…leaving it on too long…or scratching my scalp before hand or all of the above or even the new product.

Although I have never had any sensativity to hair color, I know you can suddenly develop an allergic reaction when you’ve never had one before. Sooo…has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? Should I be concerned about coloring my hair again? Or is this mostly likely an isolated one-time thing?

Shoot, I sure hope so cause I’m not ready to sport gray hair yet!

13 Responses to “Painful, Nasty Rash after Coloring…Oh My!”
  1. Poochie says:


    I have never experience anything like that, but I would say that scratching your scalp before applying the hair dye is what caused the breakage of your hair and the irritation to your scalp. I have friends that have left the color in their hair longer than the stated time on the box and did not experience any problems. I am glad it is not getting any worse. Good luck with it.

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Poochie,
      I’m really hoping that’s all it is and NOT that I’m becoming allergic to it. I too have left dye in my hair waaay longer than that without any problems. However, the fact that I also had a bit of a rash (just a few bumps) on my back and my right shoulder could be a tip off that it was more than just irritation from scratching my scalp cause I surely didn’t scratch my neck and shoulder…ya know?

      So next time I think I’m going to do a patch test like the box says and hope that I don’t show signs of irritation. Anyhoo, thanks for your thoughts and appreciate you stopping by.

  2. Poochie says:

    Hi Nappyme,

    Do you mine me asking you what brand name of hair color you used? I am thinking of coloring my hair soon. I have a very short afro, but was wondering what is a good brand name that is mild. I want to put in permanent hair color. What do you think is a pretty safe hair color? I have been natural for about 9 months. Using chemicals thinned my hair out some, but it is slowly getting thicker. I know it will take time. I am using the proline comb thru moisturizer and a non-sulfate shampoo and conditioner. I would like to use a mild color though. Would like your opinion. Thanks!

    • nappyme says:

      Poochie, I used Clairol’s Texture and Tones. I really liked it until this happened. I’m really hoping I haven’t developed an allergy to it, cause that would mean that I’d be allergic to all permanent hair dyes.

      Most permanent hair dyes are harsher on your hair than semi or demi permanant dyes. Going lighter (lifting the color) like going towards blond can also be very harsh on your hair. So do your research before you decide to do anything to your hair by the way of color.

      And you can start by reading an article I wrote on Permanent coloring. Here’s the link:

      Good luck!

  3. Millie-Pat says:

    It is possible to damage your skin and hair with hair coloring, especially if you are trying to lighten from a darker color. Anything close to one hour is too long in my opinion for a color treatment to stay in. You could have easily rinsed the hair color completely out of your hair and then look for the shampoo. I am not a professional but I had this happen on my scalp. My scalp developed dermatitis from one of the chemicals applied to my hair by a beautician. I sought the help of Black dermatologist, who told me that since the rash only appeared after a stylist applied this product that I never should use the product line again. However, I’ve also had bumps caused my pulling hair too, too tight into braids. I got bumps, blisters and scabs on my head; again caused by a stylist who pulled my hair overly tight around the edges. My advice would be to loosen or remove the braids until the skin heals. If your skin becomes extremely itchy or stingy then make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Fortunately my skin recovered after one month and I never suffered any hair loss.

    • nappyme says:

      Millie-Pat thanks for stopping by and offering your insights. Fortunately, I do know that my braids aren’t too tight, I’ve very careful with that so, I’m leaning more towards the dye being the culprit. It appears the worst is behind me although it seems to itch a little and it seems a tad bit tender as it continues to finish healing.

      This has been quite an ordeal though…hope to never have to go through it again.

  4. mophead says:

    I am sorry to hear about your hair. :-(. Can you put some Aloe on it to make it feel better?

  5. Anna Renee says:

    I’m sorry you had to experience this! Hope you have a fantabulous and Happy Nappy New Year in spite of this! Blessings

  6. Lynne says:

    I hate that you developed a rash. I recently had a similar problem using my regular color, Clairol Grey Solution. I use this brand monthly, however, since my last application, I developed a rash on the back of my neck.

    I think that they may have made some sort of recent change to their formulas. I’m switching to henna.

  7. Heather says:

    hi, i just ran across this article and it sounds like an allergy i developed a couple years ago. i had been dyeing my hair for just over 10 years when i got the same symptoms. then, a couple months later, i dyed my hair again. i ended up getting very ill, my entire body broke out in chicken-pock like sores, oozing blisters on my hands and head. my face and eyes swelled up so bad that i had to go to an emergency appointment with a doctor. she was extremely concerned and immediately sent me to a dermatologist. i was so bad that i was put on, i think it was 6 different medications all at once. 3 antibiotics and 3 creams. i was confined to bed for 3 days recovering, but the sores and blisters took longer to go away. i then found out that i had developed an allergic reaction to p-phenylenediamine (PPD). it’s a chemical that’s found in every permanent hair dye. usually, the darker the dye, the more ppd that’s in it. i can’t use permanent dye at all anymore. you may want to get tested for this, it can be very extreme the next time around. i’ve read that it can make you go into propylactic shock, or whatever it’s called, if it gets bad enough. oh yeah, i almost forgot, i lost a good portion of my hair when i got sick… i was doing combovers to hide the bald spots. not fun. anyway, hope this helps.

  8. clare davis says:

    I hate to tell you this but it isn’t from dying your hair, I don’t think so at least. I have the same thing and I wasn;t dying my hair. It started out as a itching rash on my shoulder and back of my neck at the nap of my neck the rash on my shoulders and back went away but the rash at the nap of my neck stayed. I started lossing my hair it was falling out by the hand fulls but mainly in the back of my head at the nap of my neck . The hair final stopped falled out and has grown back in but the rash is still there and has been there for two years now, it is very tender to the touch if I try to lean my head back it hurts, if the brush hurts one of those bumps they break oprn, they itch still sometimes, basicly they are a pain in my A—if you know what I mean, I went to the doctor he didn’t know what it was went to a skin doctor he couldn’t get rid of it. I had came in contact with someone who had been over in Africa I sleep on the same pillow he used after that is when I got it. But my husband don’t get it. he is the only other person that has sleep on my pillow. I was the only person who slept on my brothers pillow,

    • nappyme says:

      I’m really sorry to hear that. And I do agree, I don’t think it was the hair dye either cause I have since dyed my hair again and have had no additional problems.

      Whatever it was, it’s totally healed up, and I no longer have the rash. My hair is growing back in very nicely thank goodness.

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