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BMJ Case Rep. 2014 Mar 31;2014. pii: bcr2013202562. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-202562.

Severe facial swelling in a pregnant woman after using hair dye.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Ikazia Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


A 33-year-old Caucasian pregnant woman (26 weeks' gestation) presented to the emergency department. She had a 2-day history of severe itching of the scalp and steadily worsening swelling of the face over the previous 12 h, which had extended to the neck. She had no difficulty breathing. The itching and swelling had developed 3 days after she had used hair dye. The patient had no history of allergic responses to hair dye or black henna tattoos. A diagnosis of type IV delayed hypersensitivity reaction was made. Permanent hair dyes are the most frequently used professional hair dyes and are most commonly based on paraphenylenediamine (PPD) or related chemicals. PPD is known to be one of the most potent allergens which cause allergic contact dermatitis. After treatment with intravenous antihistamines and steroids, the facial swelling reduced and the patient had completely recovered by the following day.

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