Hairdresser urges salons to skin test after Covid survivor's allergic reaction as experts reveal 'deadly' side effects

A HAIRDRESSER has urged salons to re-skin test their clients before applying colour after a coronavirus survivor suffered an allergic reaction in her chair.

L'Oreal Colour Specialist, Charlotte Barker, shared her experience online after having to call an ambulance for a woman while dying her hair.

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Charlotte said she has been colouring the client's hair for years and has never had any problems.

But shortly after applying the dye, the woman – who had been in and out of hospital after suffering "very badly from coronavirus" – developed a rash and began to feel faint.

Describing the horror moment, Charlotte said: "She had a rash all across her chest and it was creeping up her neck to her face.

"She was hot and cold, quite shaky and generally unwell.

"We landed up having to call an ambulance to the salon."

Colour specialist Charlotte removed the product as quickly as possible and believes her quick actions could have prevented something much worse.

She warned: "Covid, like any other illness, affects the immune system. There is nothing within our industry to state that we do need to do skin tests.

"Bear in mind that some people might not even know they have had Covid."

She urged: "Please if you've got a colour client in (…) please please please re-skin test."


Research shows that in around 15 per cent of people battling any serious infection, the immune system remains "over-simulated" after the virus is no longer a threat.

And patients suffering 'long Covid' believe an increase in allergies after overcoming the virus could be another symptom – although there is no concrete scientific evidence for this.

Back in August, salons were issuing similar warnings to Charlotte's, after sensitivities were reported in coronavirus survivors with no history of problems.

Shine Holistic, in Stoke Newington, London, was among them, warning on its website: “From discussions with salons across the country, we have discovered cases where clients who had tested positive for Covid-19 have had a strong sensitivity to colour that previously they were absolutely fine with.

“For this reason, if you have tested positive for Covid-19, or suspect that you had it without being diagnosed, we advise you to have a patch test 48 hours before your hair colour or eyelash/eyebrow tint to ensure that you have not built up an unknown sensitivity.

“Hair and beauty patch tests can be done at the reception desk, so you do not have to book in for them.”

The National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) is now urging salon owners to adhere to safety guidance, saying there can be a "heightened reaction" to the chemicals in hair colour after serious illness.

An NHBF spokesperson said: "While millions of people have their hair coloured every year without any problems, a small number of people can have a severe allergic reaction to some of the ingredients in hair colour in the same way that some people are allergic to certain foods.

"On occasion there can be a heightened reaction after any serious illness. Salon owners will need to be extra vigilant when clients request hair colour services.

"It is important to carry out a post-lockdown consultation with your client."

A spokesperson said: "The clinical community look at all reported effects of Covid-19.

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