Tattoos and the Effects of Hair Color: Do They Mix?

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New tattoo and hair color chemicals: do they mix? Learn about the problems of using hair coloring too soon after getting a tattoo. Most might not even know about the dangers of coloring their hair so soon after getting a tattoo, this article will teach yo

I just got a tattoo -can I color my hair? People, who already have a tattoo, or getting a new tattoo, always get scared when it comes time to color their hair. If you look on the back of certain hair color boxes it will tell you that tattoos can actually affect the hair color you choose or cause an allergic reaction. Being a professional beautician for over 17 years, I have never seen a person who has tattoos break out from any hair color.

Is it possible your tattoo can cause any reactions with your skin or hair color? Most definitely yes. Hair color is putting a dye on your scalp, while a tattoo is putting a dye on your skin. When you apply too much of one ingredient onto your body of course your body is going to react to it. Our bodies can only tolerate so much at one time. If your tattoo is brand new and you decide the next day to color your hair it can definitely cause a skin irritation, because too much dye is being placed at once. This could then lead to an allergic reaction to some. A little trick is to take Benadryl before applying the color; this will help prevent anything from happening if coloring is a must.

Do I recommend  coloring your hair directly after getting a new tattoo? No, because you need to heal from the new tattoo first and allow your body to adjust to the new ink. We all know no matter how careful you are with the hair dye; it can easily leak onto your new tattoo or old tattoo for that matter without you even noticing it. Then your new or old tattoo will be colored and ruined and the outcome may not be what you expected.

Some of the boxed hair colors that have the tattoo warning on them are Garnier Nutrisse, Herbal Essence, L’Oreal Feria, Natural Instincts and L’Oreal Feria Shimmering. All of these boxed home hair colors are extremely bright and vibrant. The product in the hair color that may cause an allergic reaction with a tattoo is called paraphenylenediamine. This chemical is the actual agent that helps make your hair that bright, bold, and vibrant shade you desire, because it can hold the high temperature and give you that vibrant color without fading.

If you plan on coloring your hair a day or even within a week after getting a new tattoo, make sure you use all precautions. Always make sure to do the patch test on the inside of your elbow, and wait for at least a day to remove the color to see if any reaction will result. Protect your tattoo and skin with a heavy lotion like Lubriderm or A&D ointment. Then apply a non-fragranced chapstick to the top layer of tattoo, outline of tattoo, by your ears, neck, forehead, and even shoulders when applying the color to protect the skin and tattoo if any of it is in those areas. The reason I say shoulders too is simply because the color can easily leak.

After you apply the hair color, if you do notice a slight burning, itchiness, red blotches, small bumps, difficulty breathing or swallowing, oozing from the scalp, or swollen lymph nodes, stop the procedure and immediately rinse off the hair color. Make sure you rinse the color out until the water runs totally clear. Then shampoo your scalp very lightly. Towel dry and blot it to get all the excess water out. Clean your tattoo thoroughly with Witch Hazel. Make sure it is thoroughly dry before applying another product onto it. Apply an ointment to the tattoo if it looks irritated. If your tattoo looks really red and bumpy buy a product called Kiss my Tattoo Healing Balm. I was told by a tattoo artist this product works very well. I searched online for this product and it can be found at for $5.00.


Posted on Jan 25, 2011
Jessica Hess
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