Did you know the peroxide used to bleach your hair in a high street salon is the same chemical that was used to propel early rockets?
So while such products can be very useful, it’s vital that they’re treated with great care and that the stylist is properly trained in their use.
Problems can also be caused by the chemical PPD (p-Phenylenediamine), which causes around 80% of allergic reactions to hair dye and is still used in two-thirds of all dyeing products.
“Hair claims are something people don’t really think about, but the chemicals used in hairdressing can be really dangerous and things can go wrong,” says Rebecca Montague, one of the expert personal injury lawyers at Macks Solicitors.
“I’ve had clients with severe burns from chemical treatments and over-processing on their hair who’ve had to have plastic surgery as a result. “They’ve lost their hair and been told it’s not going to grow back, which is very distressing and can lead to quite large claims.
“There aren’t many solicitors in this area who would have the expertise to do them and often people don’t know what to do when they’ve been to the hairdressers and things have gone terribly wrong.”
Although allergies are rare, affecting roughly one in 250,000 people, a bad reaction can happen at any time, even if someone has dyed their hair without problems before.
A reaction can cause itching, swelling, blisters – and in severe cases has proved fatal. In fact, PPD has been banned in countries such as France, Sweden and Germany.
But the UK hairdressing market remains largely unregulated – meaning just about anyone can pick up a pair of scissors and call himself or herself a stylist.
A recent survey in Wales found that 84% of hairdressers failed to carry out a simple patch test before using hair dye on a client.
“Hairdressing is under-regulated but it’s still possible to prove negligence,” says Rebecca. “If they have a practise or salon, they will have public liability insurance. Travelling hairdressers who are just calling at your house might be a little different.
“You might think it’s only the small hairdressers who get claims against them but some of the bigger well-known names can still get very busy and make mistakes.
STAYING SAFE AT THE HAIRDRESSERS
Rebecca recommends taking some simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of being burned at the hairdressers and needing the services of compensation lawyers.
“Talk to your stylist first,” she advises. “If you’re having your hair dyed, ask them to do a patch test to check you’re not allergic to the dyes.
“Make sure if you feel any burning on your head that you tell them straight away and are not fobbed off. “They should be checking you constantly, so if they’re busy, be aware that you have to keep reminding them.
“Hairdressers should be carrying out patch tests if they’re dyeing or colour-treating your hair. “If they don’t and you have a reaction, you can bring a claim.”