Woman In Coma Using Hair Dye

November 23, 2011 by staff 

Woman In Coma Using Hair Dye, Julie McCabe, 38-year-old a wife and mother of two in England, has been in a coma for three weeks, caused by what’s believed to be an allergic reaction to L’Oreal hair dye. Just minutes after applying the dye—which she’d used before in the past—she collapsed and stopped breathing; now doctors give her an eight percent chance of survival. Though doctors haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of her reaction, they fear that it could be para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a chemical found in 99% of home hair dyes.

Her father described the events that led to her coma to Daily Mail:

‘She told her husband, “I don’t feel well, I can’t breathe”,’ he said.

‘He rushed her to hospital and her heart stopped beating on the way. At A&E doctors cleared her airway and got her heart restarted but her brain was starved of oxygen for God knows how long.

‘She’s now in a coma. The doctors have more or less said the condition she is in now is most likely how she will stay. They are not giving us much hope. It’s hard to take in.’

Mrs McCabe had used the L’Oreal product in the past, he added. He also believes she did a skin test before using the dye, in accordance with the manufacturer’s advice.

While McCabe’s reaction obviously isn’t typical, her family wants to get PPD banned from home hair dye kits. They believe it’s responsible for her coma, and in all honesty, the chemical is pretty scary. Researchers have linked it to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, acute leukemia and bladder cancer, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists PPD as an allergen.
Allergic reactions can be severe (that’s why manufacturers always advise a “patch test,” whereby consumers test their reaction to the product on a patch of skin before applying to their hair) but what’s particularly scary is that sensitization is known to occur. This means that people often develop allergic reactions to PPD after they’ve used it in the past without a problem—and, in the worst possible case, end up having a potentially lethal reaction like McCabe’s.
Alternative dyes like Henna and vegetable rinse dyes use no or fewer chemicals, so while you wait to see if Julie’s parents manage to convince manufacturers like L’Oreal to change their formula, we’d give them a try.

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