Self-testing for contact sensitization to hair dyes - Scientific considerations and clinical concerns of an industry-led screening programme

Jacob P. Thyssen, Heidi Søsted, Wolfgang Uter, Axel Schnuch, Ana M. Giménez-Arnau, Martine Vigan, Thomas Rustemeyer, Berit Granum, John McFadden, Jonathan M. White, Ian R. White, Ann Goossens, Torkil Menné, Carola Lidén, Jeanne D. Johansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The cosmetic industry producing hair dyes has, for many years, recommended that their consumers perform 'a hair dye allergy self-test' or similar prior to hair dyeing, to identify individuals who are likely to react upon subsequent hair dyeing. This review offers important information on the requirements for correct validation of screening tests, and concludes that, in its present form, the hair dye self-test has severe limitations: (i) it is not a screening test but a diagnostic test; (ii) it has not been validated according to basic criteria defined by scientists; (iii) it has been evaluated in the wrong population group; (iv) skin reactions have been read by dermatologists and not by the targeted group (consumers and hairdressers); (v) hair dyes contain strong and extreme sensitizers that are left on the skin in high concentrations, potentially resulting in active sensitization; and (vi) recommendations and instructions on how to perform the hair dye self-test vary greatly even among products from the same company, again suggesting that the basis for safe use of the test has not been determined. If the use of a hair dye self-test to predict contact sensitization becomes widespread, there is severe risk that a tool has been marketed that may cause morbidity in European consumers. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-311
JournalContact Dermatitis
Volume66
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012

Keywords

  • allergy alert test
  • diagnostics
  • hair dyes
  • nickel
  • p-phenylenediamine
  • screening
  • self-test
  • skin alert test

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