By Josh Saunders
A mum-of-two whose face ballooned like an alien after a reaction to hair dye is warning others about potentially-fatal allergies.
Laura Gudat, 35, from Toronto, Canada, ignored itching and the blisters that erupted around her hairline every time she coloured her hair for the previous five years.
She dismissed the painful symptoms that happened every time she used any brand of hair dye, until last year when it intensified and feared she could die.
Two-days after applying the solution to hide grey hairs last year, her face started to swell up and in the following days, it worsened to the point where her eyes were just ‘narrow slits.’
The kindergarten educator says she looked like an ‘alien’ and a ‘monster’ due to how out of proportion her jawline, forehead and even ears had become.
After reading reports online, she was ‘terrified’ believing her throat would close-up due to the swelling – but after several days and heavy medication her symptoms began to recede.
She has been warned never to dye her hair again as the next reaction caused by Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and its derivatives, could ‘kill her.’
Laura said: “Five years ago, I started getting blisters around my ears and my head was itching.
“Every time I dyed my hair that happened and each time I had to go to the doctors for a prescription to calm the blistering, swelling and itching.
“I went into a walk-in clinic between ten and 15 times, I didn’t learn my lesson until the last reaction in the September last year.
“The same thing happened, but then two days later I started to notice my face swelling and getting bigger, bigger and bigger.
“I had dyed it for five years, but only then did my face and head swell, it was so bad my eyes swelled shut.
“My face was deformed from the swelling, my eyes were really small, almost swollen shut, the top part of my head was extremely wide and even my jawline was affected.
“I read up on it and saw other women’s reactions, some people have even died from this, it’s so scary.
“I was terrified that my throat would close, and we were ready to rush to hospital.
“It was frightening because I didn’t know if my face would go back to normal or if I would continue looking like a monster or an alien.
“Now I’ve been told never to dye my hair again, the next time I do it could lead to death, because the reaction gets worse and worse every time.”
Laura had highlighted and dyed her hair since she was 14 years old.
But despite the on-set of blistering and itchiness – which were not connected to any particular brand of dye – she ignored the symptoms.
Laura said: “I dismissed it every time. It was painful, it didn’t feel nice, I knew it was bad for me.
“I knew I had an allergy and was advised not to risk it, but I have grey hairs and needed to colour them.”
But last year when the symptoms intensified like nothing she had ever seen before.
She said: “I just thought my reaction would be the same as every other time with the itchiness and blisters.
“I didn’t think I would be that person whose face would swell-up like a balloon to the point it was causing an extreme headache. I even had to take Tylenol to deal with the pain.
“I would not listen to anyone before that and would say that my last reaction was a real eye-opener to not put any colour on my hair.
“The sad part is I need to find something else now.”
Despite the warnings, Laura is now on the lookout for natural hair dyes that won’t cause a reaction.
She now patch tests every time for 48 hours, but has found that even the natural products contain PPD or similar chemicals.
Laura said: “It’s extremely important to do the patch test and wait 48 hours, I would especially recommend anyone dying their hair black to do this.
“Some hair salons will do a patch test and let it sit there for an hour, but that doesn’t work, you need a longer period of time to be safe.
“My face didn’t start swelling until two days after, so I thought I had beautiful hair by the second and third day it was a totally different story.”