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LLANSAMLET, Wales - Lauren Thomas got the shock of her life when she tried to colour her hair at home, and instead ended up with a grotesque swollen head and a scalp that was oozing pus.
The 16-year-old teen had bought the hair dye 'Nice n' Easy' by Clairol, and neglected to do a patch test first as she had bought the hair dye range several times before with no adverse effects.
Her aunt helped her dye her hair as per the instructions on the box. However, within a matter of hours, her scalp started itching.
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The student from Wales initially thought she had head lice, and asked her aunt to check her head for it. However, her aunt gave her the all clear.
"I kept washing my hair but the itching just got worse and worse," she told The Daily Mail UK.
That night before she went to sleep, she took a look at herself in the mirror and noticed that an eye was swollen. She consulted her grandmother, and she agreed the eye looked swollen, but advised her to wait until morning to see if the swelling had improved.
However, around 3 in the morning, Lauren woke up in pain and unable to open one eye. She went to the mirror to look at herself, and what she saw made her scream.
"I was terrified. I did not recognise myself and I started crying because I was so scared," she said, comparing her appearance to that of a monster.
Her grandmother rushed to her side to calm her down, and that was when they noticed that her head was oozing pus.
A consultation with a doctor later revealed that Lauren had suffered an allergic reaction to the hair dye.
Even with steroid cream and anti-hystamines prescribed for her condition, the swelling took a full week to subside.
She said back then, she was so scared that she even thought she would die. Even after she received assurances from the doctor, she feared that she would "never look the same again".
Hospitalised over home hair dye kit
Now, Lauren has been so traumatised by her experience that she said she will never dye her hair at home again.
The teen, who holds a part-time job at a hair salon, told the paper that she is very careful when she handles dye now and always uses gloves.
However, her experience hasn't put her off chasing her dream of becoming a hairdresser.
Instead, she views the ordeal as proof of the dangers of do-it-yourself hair dye jobs, and said it shows the need for professional hair salons.
Till this day, Lauren is unsure as to why she suffered such a severe reaction to the hair dye.
She said she's used dyes many times before with no problems.
A spokesperson for the maker of the hair dye, Procter & Gamble, expressed concern over Lauren's condition, and added that a very small number of people do suffer reactions to hair colourants.
This is not the first time cases of severe reactions to hair dyes have been reported in the media.
Last year, The Sun UK reported that a young mother ended up in a high-dependency ward in a hospital after a home treatment hair dye nearly gave her a heart attack.
Council worker Mariade Kelly, 29, was rushed to the hospital after she experienced severe itching and pus oozing out of her scalp after applying the treatment, similar to Lauren.
Warning: Always do an allergy test
Doctors sent her home after prescribing her anti-histamines, but she was soon back again when her face swelled up to twice its normal size.
Her heart also began to pump at 180 bpm - similar to the rate of a heart attack - and she began experiencing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
She was quickly wheeled to the high dependency unit, where she received an aggressive course of anti-histamines and steroid injections.
The culprit was later identified to be a chemical called para-phenylenediamine (PPD) used in many UK hair dyes.
P-phenylenediamine is a restricted substance in cosmetic products in Singapore, where it may not exceed 6 per cent of the free base and must bear a cautionary label.
According to The Sun, even if people have been exposed to the chemical without a problem before, they can become allergic to it at any time.
Therefore, it is important to do a skin allergy test at least 48 hours before using a colourant each and every time.