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First Aid for Hair Dye Remover Poisoning

Last updated March 2, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Hair Dye Remover Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (swallowing) of any product containing the compound. The substance may also come in contact with the skin or eye and cause irritation and associated symptoms.


What is Hair Dye Remover Poisoning?

  • Hair dye removers are chemicals that are used to remove hair color. Such products are either homemade or manufactured using synthetic compounds (store-purchased products)
  • There are a range of products that may be available in the form of shampoos, lotions, gels, and powders. Some hair dye removers come as two separate solutions that need to be mixed before use
  • Hair Dye Remover Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (swallowing) of any product containing the compound. The substance may also come in contact with the skin or eye and cause irritation and associated symptoms
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Hair Dye Remover Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Hair Color Remover Poisoning
  • Hair Dye Remover Toxicity
  • Hair Dye Stain Poisoning

What are the Causes of Hair Dye Remover Poisoning?

  • Hair Dye Remover Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of hair dye remover products and solutions
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • The chemicals in hair color removers may include a variety of chemicals including sodium and potassium persulfate, denatured alcohol, hexylene and dipropylene glycol, ammonium chloride and ammonium hydroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, phosphoric acid, hydrogen peroxide, sodium stannate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, etc.

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hair Dye Remover Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Hair Dye Remover Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the respiratory system, digestive system, vascular system, skin and ENT, may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Hair Dye Remover Poisoning may include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Burning and associated pain in the mouth, throat, and food-pipe. This may also affect the eyes, ears, and nose
  • Swelling of the throat leading to swallowing/speech difficulties
  • Severe skin irritation and burns (perforations on the skin may be observed)
  • Nausea and vomiting (that may contain blood)
  • Stomach pain that may be severe
  • Bloody stools
  • If eye exposure occurs, then it can result in redness, watery eyes, and irritation; eye burns
  • Loss of vision
  • Change in blood pH levels, resulting in several organs being affected
  • Suddenly reduced blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Collapse of the body, coma

How is First Aid administered for Hair Dye Remover Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Hair Dye Remover Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • If skin exposure or involvement of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for at least 15 minutes)
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Otherwise, following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give milk or water to drink
  • In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Medically manage symptoms and provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer medications to counter the effects of the ingested substance
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Surgical treatment for skin burns including removal of burnt skin
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Hair Dye Remover Poisoning?

First aid for Hair Dye Remover Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Hair Dye Remover Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Hair Dye Remover Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms with appropriate medication and early support, the outcome can be good
  • Severe exposure of body organs (throat, gastrointestinal tract including stomach) to the chemical can lead to complications/infections and irreversible damage. In some cases, the damage may progress for weeks and months and it can result in fatalities

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Hair Dye Remover Poisoning be Prevented?

Hair Dye Remover Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 10, 2017
Last updated: March 2, 2018