Warning: this article contains images of a medical nature.
A teen was almost blinded after she suffered a horrifying allergic reaction to hair dye.
Tylah Durie, 16, from Victoria, Australia, initially noticed her eyebrows beginning to itch and burn 30 minutes after applying 1000 Hours Eyelash and Brow Dye kit.
Over the next four days, her eyes swelled to the size of “balloons” and doctors warned she could go blind.
Her face developed welts and bulged to the point that she claimed she looked like a “frog” and was barely able to open her eyes that wept puss constantly.
It soon transpired that she had a deadly allergy to one of the chemicals in the dye called Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which wasn’t initially flagged up as she didn’t perform a patch test.
Now she has been left with chemical burns on her eyeballs and warned that if she touches hair dye again it could “kill her”.
Durie, a beauty student, said: “I woke up almost blind because of the reaction, my eyes had blown up like huge balloons, I was crying and screaming.
“It was like having beach sand thrown in your eyeballs and not being able to get it out, then a stinging like razorblades on my eyebrows.
“My eyes were pretty much swollen shut, I could only see a tiny amount and my eyes were weeping with a lot of puss.
“My mum said I looked like a big frog because my eyebrows had folded over and my eyes were horribly swollen.
“It had swollen into a large rock-hard area and was completely numb.
“I was hospitalised and was terrified, doctors said I had a very unusual but severe allergic reaction and could have gone permanently blind.
“I went through inexplicable pain just by tinting my eyelashes and eyebrows, I’m never using dye on myself ever again.
“I didn’t realise I was allergic to Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), I did it to myself, I made a mistake and I’m now trying to protect others.”
The teen said she was trying to tint her eyelashes and eyebrows – a common beauty practice to make the areas look darker and fuller.
She admitted that her mistake was not doing a patch test on her skin.
“When I applied the mixture I was fine, I waited ten minutes and then washed it off – it looked really good and was really pleased with it,” she recalled.
“Because I didn’t do a patch test, within half an hour the skin around my eyes became really itchy.
“No one really does the patch test in my family, so I thought I would be okay and hadn’t suffered any reactions when dying my hair in the past, but those dyes didn’t have PPD in them.”
The next day, her reaction intensified and continued to worsen despite being prescribed antihistamines by her local hospital.
She said: “My eyes were swollen, but not as much as a couple of days later, they were bloodshot and all red.
“I was beginning to get blisters in my eyebrows which was really painful, then my eyelashes started falling out.”
At one point, Durie feared she was going blind while awaiting results of how badly the chemicals had burned her eyes.
She said: “I had puss and tears coming out of my eye 24/7 and was left in a lot of pain and discomfort.
“I was in shock, I was crying and really stressed, I was terrified of losing my eyesight at such a young age.
“An optometrist the next day told me how lucky I was not to have gone blind.
“Now I have to go to see them on a regular basis to monitor the lasting effects of the damage.”
After her horrific experience, the teen has vowed never to use any form of dye again and wants to stress the importance of patch tests to others.
Durie said: “I’m on a lot of medications to heal this and would never wish this pain on anyone, so please do a patch test.
“I was really scared by what happened, once you get one reaction from PPD it gets worse and worse each time.
“If it happens again it could either kill me or leave me permanently blinded.
“Now for my beauty course I will have to wear gloves in case I touch something that contains PPD.
“I tell everyone now to do a patch test and show them the pictures from my reaction as a warning.”
Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) can commonly be found in hair dyes and ink used for henna tattoos.
Gina Taro, a PPD allergy specialist, said: “Reactions can be as small as redness around the edges of your face to itching of the eyes, all the way to chemical burns, blisters and your whole scalp feeling like it’s melting off.
“Some people can suffer anaphylactic shock, where you have a small window before your throat closes and you die of suffocation. People have died because of PPD.
One unfortunate victim was teenager Tabatha McCourt, 17, from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, who lost her life after a severe reaction to PPD in 2011.
Taro says the amount of people at risk of a PPD reaction has dramatically risen over the years, with up to 75% of women in the USA colouring their hair.
From that percentage, 6.5% of women will suffer an allergic reaction to PPD.
Taro added: “I suspect some stronger reactions are to do with people having micro-abrasions that allows the colour to enter into the bloodstream.
“The reactions will become more severe the more times you’re exposed to it, it’s like giving your child peanut butter when they are allergic to peanuts.
“If you’re having a reaction I would recommend going to a dermatologist, if they don’t know what they are doing take print outs from online to give them as much info as possible.”
Jodie Phillips, spokesperson from Chemcorpy Pty Ltd who make the 1,000 Hour product said: “Paraphenylenediamine or PPD is a common ingredient in hair dyes.
“It is well known that some people can be very sensitive to the ingredient and hence may find that such products are not compatible with their skin.
“The same is true for any ingredient used in cosmetics but more so with colouring agents.
“For this reason, all colouring products contain very specific and clear instructions that the consumer should carry out a patch test before using the product especially on sensitive areas such as eyebrows and lashes.”
“We do advise to perform a skin sensitivity test 48 hours before every application of this product.”
She added: “We have not had any incidents where a customer has required hospital treatment.
“The young lady must have had a serve reaction and I do truly hope that she makes a fully recovery.”