Woman’s Scalp Burns Off In Hair Colouring Disaster

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Archives of Plastic SurgeryArchives of Plastic Surgery

Horrendous images have emerged showing how a woman was left with a huge open wound on her head after a visit to a hair salon.

The woman, who hasn’t been named, went to get her hair lightened at her local salon in Seoul, South Korea, when disaster struck.

Instead of walking out of the hairdressers with a new do, the chemicals in the dye caused a huge burn the length of her head making a lot of her hair fall out.

According to doctors, the 21-year-old’s head was exposed to persulfates and hydrogen peroxide, two potent chemicals found in hair dye, for far too long.

Woman's Scalp Burns Off In Hair Colouring DisasterArchives of Plastic Surgery

The same two chemicals can be found in most highlighting products available in the UK, however they usually come with strict instructions on how long it should be left on for.

Doctors wrote about the shocking incident in the Archives of Plastic Surgery journal, led by Dr Suk Joon Oh, who works in the Department of Burns Reconstructive Surgery at Bestian Seoul Hospital.

According to reports in the journal, the woman was treated with a mainstream colouring product in her local salon, however doctors didn’t reveal the name of the product or how it was actually used on the 21-year-old.

It does however suggest ‘prolonged exposure’ to the mixture of chemicals, which could have been the main factor in causing the traumatic wounds.

Two of the chemicals found in the potent mix were ammonium and potassium persulfates, which are both acidic and flammable.

The dye also contained hydrogen peroxide, which is a powerful chemical that is often found in high concentrations in hair formulas.

Archives of Plastic SurgeryArchives of Plastic Surgery

Dr Oh said in the journal:

[Hydrogen peroxide] is a clean, colorless, non-flammable liquid and is not well absorbed through intact skin.

At the concentrations used for household sterilization purposes, three to five per cent, it is slightly irritating to the skin.

He added that most formulas have a hydrogen peroxide concentration of 10 per cent, which is highly irritating and corrosive, and therefore can lead to skin blisters and burns.

Some hair dye products can contain concentrations of up to 60 per cent, however in the UK the maximum concentration of hydrogen peroxide allowed is 12 per cent.

Over prolonged periods of time, the chemicals can destroy human flesh. The process of the scalp drying is called coagulative necrosis, which is a form of cell death caused by a lack of blood supply.

Dr Oh explains:

Coagulation necrosis is caused by direct contact between the oxidising salt and the tissue.

As clinicians, we must educate people about the risk of burns caused by mixtures used for hair colouring, provide information on the safe use of these compounds, and join in current efforts to ban these chemicals from hair coloring products.

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