Pauley Perrette, the raven-haired star of NCIS, went to the emergency room on Friday after a severe allergic reaction to her hair dye. Now Perrette is urging others who have hair dye allergies to seek help.
The 45-year-old actress, known for her character's jet-black pigtails on the hit CBS show is actually a natural blond and has been dyeing her hair for more than 20 years. Last week she tweeted a photo from the hospital of her swollen face, which only got worse after the picture was taken.
This was me at hospital today and it got worse #Allergy #AllergicReaction PLEASE read my next tweet http://t.co/AYf4GfM3sm - Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) July 19, 2014
Perrette followed that tweet by writing "I'm ok, but this is serious."
"One of my eyes was almost swollen shut and the other half of my face had become twice the size of my head," she told the local CBS station in Los Angeles. "The most important thing to me is that anyone out there that dyes their hair, particularly people who have been dyeing their hair black for a long time, you need to be aware of the symptoms."
While she has a long history of dyeing her hair black, Perrette said she only recently started to develop an allergic reaction. Six months ago her beauty routine caused a rash to break out on her neck and back-a reaction she ignored.
"It's an acquired allergy for people that dye their hair for years," she tweeted. "Was in ER. Just got home from hospital. Awful. My head swelled up huge like a melon."
According Jacob Offenberger, an allergist at Northridge Medical Center, allergies to hair dye aren't uncommon, but people tend to ignore the warning signs.
"If you have hair dye, and the next day or the day after you start to have itchiness and you start to see redness or [an] eczema-type of lesion, it is telling that you that you are having an allergic reaction to that dying," Offenberger said. "If you would do nothing, the next time you do the hair dye, it's going to get worse."
Boxed hair dyes available for purchase at drug stores and other retailers should have a usage advisor on them warning about the risk of allergic reaction. L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference hair color, for example, cautions users to "perform a skin allergy test 48 hours before each use of this product" and urges you not to use the product if "you have already had a reaction to hair color product" or "you have a sensitive, itchy, or damaged scalp."
Perrette's health scare doesn't mean her character, gothic forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, is going blond. The actress said she is looking into more natural hair dye options and might event sport a wig on the show. On Tuesday Perrette (still with black hair) posted an update from the set of NCIS on Twitter:
Happy to report I'm back on #NCIS set with the gang. Thanks everyone! http://t.co/ivhVDBUhHy - Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) July 24, 2014