Sheffield mum suffers swollen face and bleeding scalp after allergic reaction to hair dye
A woman who suffered an extreme reaction to hair dye she's used for six years said she was left looking like Shrek.
Karen Cameron, 49, ended up with a swollen face, lumpy skin and a bleeding scalp for nearly an entire month after dying her hair blue.
She said the extreme reaction came despite using the Schwarzkopf Live Cosmic Blue hair dye at least 40 times before.
Karen, from Woodhouse, Sheffield, said: "I looked like something out of Shrek! It wasn't a pretty sight!
"It was just itching at first but over the next four or five days it moved down the back of my neck, and there was a little sore on my ear which continuously got bigger and started weeping.
"I was waking up in the middle of the night because my hair was full of matter."
Karen said she did a patch test on the back of her hand on December 31 before dying her hair 24 hours later.
She said it started to itch so she tried to wash it off in the bath, and a rash appeared on her arms and stomach.
Eight hours later her scalp started to really burn, she said.
The stay-at-home mum said: "It wasn't too bad at first but as days went on I got a bad rash on the back of my ear and neck.
"It was really horrible - just the slightest touch made me wince.
"Some nights I would wake up and burst out crying because I couldn't sleep as it was stinging too much."
After eight days of increasing pain, Karen contacted her GP who prescribed antibiotics, but her reaction only got more severe.
Her ear and scalp were bleeding and raw, and a rash was quickly spreading across her face.
Karen said: "I was in agony constantly because I couldn't stop hair getting into the open wound and nothing I bought stuck to my ear because of the constant weeping."
She said she went to A&E and doctors told her to shave her hair, and she initially struggled to get another GP appointment due to Covid.
"I was so fed up and just burst into tears because I was in so much pain and nothing had worked," Karen admitted.
"I couldn't go anywhere because I felt embarrassed to go out."
She was seen by a medic, and given cream for her ear - but then the swelling spread to her eyes.
Her face swelled up so badly that she could only squint and it affected her vision, and the pain on her scalp and ears prevented her from sleeping.
Desperate, she even covered her ear with a freezer bag, to stop it touching her hair,
She rang 111 and went to the Northern General Hospital where she said she was told she was likely having an allergic reaction to the dye.
It is possible to develop an allergy to something your body was previously tolerant of, and doctors still don't know why.
Karen was given steroids and fortunately saw an immediate improvement, and now she only has a few mildly itchy spots.
She said: "I'm deeply upset about the whole incident which has now put an end to me dyeing my hair - it's going to be grey all the way!"
Schwarzkopf declined to comment.