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Pauley Perrette Tweets Hair Dye Health Warning

    July 23, 2014
    Mike Fossum
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NCIS star Pauley Perrette was recently hospitalized due to a severe allergic reaction to the black hair dye she uses. Now the 45-year-old actress has warned her fans of the dangers of hair coloring.

Perrette plays a goth-inspired forensic scientist named Abby Sciuto on NCIS, and keeps her hair jet black for the role. Perrette, a natural blonde, had been darkening her hair for roughly twenty years, without any serious issues. Though recently, the New Orleans-born actress developed a rash, along with severe swelling.

“The other half of my face had become twice the size of my head,” Perrette explained, and posted the following picture to Twitter while she was in the hospital on July 19:

Perrette warns of the perils of hair dye allergies:

Commenting on allergic reactions to hair dye, Perrette explained, “The most important thing to me is that anyone out there that dyes their hair, particularly black, you need to be aware of the symptoms.”

Jacob Offenberger, an allergist at Northridge Medical Center, said, “If you have hair dye, and the next day or the day after you start to have itchiness and you start to see redness or [an] eczema-type of lesion, it is telling that you that you are having an allergic reaction to that dying. If you would do nothing, the next time you do the hair dye, it’s going to get worse.”

Perrette experienced the same progression – six months before winding up in the hospital, she developed a rash on her scalp and neck, but ignored the symptoms.

Perrette says she is now researching natural hair dye and also looking into wearing a wig, and is back on the NCIS set with her fellow cast mates.

Image via Wikimedia Commons


  • Ammoguy

    Natural Blonde and you’re dying your hair?? It takes a blonde to do something like that

  • Kathy

    This happened to me also, we need safer less toxic chemicals for hair color!

  • Gen

    I started experiencing intense scalp pain, itchiness and a rash on my neck that would not go away about 2 years ago. I noticed that the symptoms were worse after I had highlights done. I started losing my hair in the areas where the pain was more intense. I finally decided to stop dying my hair a year ago. The dermatologist I visited prescribed steroid shampoos and lotions which calmed the pain. However the rash would not go away. I finally found an all natural, organic shampoo specifically for skin irritation and now I am all better. The hair has not regrown but at least I am now pain and rash free. The dermatologist specialized in hair treatment NEVER mentioned the hair dyes as a possible cause of my symptoms. Even when I prompted her about it she dismissed my worries about this possible cause.

    • Jody deaderick

      Hi Gen!
      You don’t mention the name of the shampoo you are using, I use Free and Clear and it works for me. Have you been able to find any gel or mouse?

  • http://www.dudeiwantthat.com Wicasawakan

    I wonder when she’ll ever grow up and stop being a stereotype.

  • Anita

    Thank you for making this public I also had a allergic reactionto black hair dye. I felt like my brain was swelling, and could not turn my head very well. Scalp itched for almost two months

  • Jody Deaderick

    The same thing happened to me and I ended up in the ER also. Unfortunately, I still have burning and nerve ending pain and a lot of my hair fell out. All the doctors did was give me steroids and topical steroids.
    I wanted to warn you against organic dye and dyes that say they are PPD free, they are not. So far, there is nothing on the market that is PPD free, they just go by a different name in the ingredients! Also, thought I would suggest you cut your hair short until the dye grows out because it can still flare up after washing.
    Please stay on the company’s to come out with something safe so we can all return to coloring our hair. Surprisingly, their are a lot of out here in the same situation as you!!
    Good look to you and feel better soon!

  • Jody Deaderick

    I forgot to mention, if the dermatologist or Allergist do a patch text and tell you that you are not allergic, this is wrong! The PPD is in it’s raw form and might not bother your back, but you are allergic, they don’t know! I was told over and over that I didn’t have Allergy’s
    And be cautions of the word “organic,” all hair dye has PPD, some just use another name!
    Good Luck, I’ve been there! Jody Deaderick