Woman in Coma after Using L'Oreal Hair Dye


A worldwide available hair dye put a woman in a coma that lasted almost a month!


A 38-year-old Brit, Julie McCabe, set about dyeing her hair on October 30. She used L’Oreal Superior Preference. Since she had been going through the motions every six weeks for a number of years before she had no earthly reason to expect that anything might come amiss. But it did.

While McCabe was getting herself primed, she felt an allergic reaction setting in. In a while it became so strong that her breathing became painful and strained. An ambulance was called and – her father recounted to the BBC – while she was being taken to a hospital, her heart stopped beating.

Yet the question what actually caused the reaction remains. While McCabe’s doctors are not ready to commit themselves on the subject, her father puts it down to the chemical para-phenylenediamine, also known as PPD.

By a European Union trade regulation, para-phenylenediamine can be used in a hair dye as long as its presence doesn’t exceed 6%. Nevertheless, a US study showed that PPD can bring up the rate of bladder cancer; another study published four years ago in the British Journal of Medicine disclosed a link between the exposure to the chemical and allergic reactions.

The McCabe case may tip the scales of the estimation of PPD’s harmfulness, and the sufferer’s lawyers intend to play up the issue in the eyes of other hair dye users.

L’Oreal hastened to express their concern over the lady’s misadventure. They ventured no comment because the real reasons behind the coma-resulting reaction are still unclear. But they assured that any information of the dye’s ingredients had been given over to McCabe’s family and doctors to help them formulate a theory.

While boffins are working on it, not a bad idea is to steer clear of any hair dye containing any amount of PPD.