Donald Trump’s hair reportedly turned orange by a Just for Men hair product. This is probably a serious thing to Trump but less so to the rest of us. But there a real concern about these Just for Men products. An increasing number of men are reporting severe allergic reactions to “Just For Men” hair and beard products. The reactions include burning, difficulty breathing, dizziness, faintness, hives, rash, redness, scarring, and swelling. The reactions are being reported not just by new users, but also by long-time users who had previously never experienced any problems. The reactions are so severe that some users had to go to the emergency room, or even be hospitalized. Many users needed antibiotics and steroids to treat the reactions.
The “Just For Men” website tells users to always first do a patch test before using the product: “Always do a simple skin allergy (alert) test 48 hours before you use your Just For Men product. Do the patch test on the inside bend of your elbow each and every time.” The products include a similar warning.
The culprit appears to be p-Phenylenediamine (PPD), a dye derived from coal tar that helps color hair. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists PPD as a contact allergen. It was voted “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2006, a finding that was published in the journal Dermatitis. Its allergic nature was subsequently confirmed by a 10-year review of the allergen in 2011 that was also published in Dermatitis. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says that PPD can cause “intense skin irritation and blisters.”