'Lightbulb head': How hair dye caused French woman's ridiculous swelling

Estelle before and after recovering from the reaction.
Estelle before and after recovering from the reaction. Photo credit: Le Parisien.

A French student's severe allergic reaction to supermarket hair dye has caused her head to swell up to almost double its original size.

Estelle, 19, bought a supermarket dye in order to darken her hair - but as French newspaper Le Parisien reported, she suffered a severe allergic reaction to one of its ingredients.

The chemical Paraphenylenediamin (PPD) is regularly found in hair dyes, and is the prime cause of most hair dye reactions.

Estelle told the paper that she had carried out a patch test, but had only left the product on her arm for 30 minutes rather than the recommended time of 48 hours.

She said that she began taking antihistamines after her scalp became irritated - but by the following morning, her condition had worsened.

Her head had swollen to 63cm, and her tongue had ballooned in size too.

Estelle with a swollen head.
Estelle mid-allergic reaction. Photo credit: Le Parisien.

"I could not breathe, I had a lightbulb head," she told Le Parisien.

She said she wanted this to be a warning to other people to carry out a patch test for products containing PPD.

"I almost died, I do not want it to happen to others."

Estelle has made a full recovery.