Hair-Dye Allergies: Real, & Really Dangerous

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rexusa_1107925bkPhoto: Matt Baron/BEImages.
Just because you've been using a product for years doesn't mean it can't turn on you. Actress Pauley Perrette just learned this lesson the hard way: She recently found herself in the ER with an extremely swollen face after developing a potentially fatal allergy to her hair dye. It's the same black dye she's been using to color her hair for the past 11 seasons of NCIS. No, nothing is sacred.

According to Dr. Jacob Offenberger, an allergist interviewed by CBS, initial symptoms of a hair-dye allergy include itchiness and redness. But, if you notice those signs and don't do anything about them, he says, they'll get worse with continued dye use. That's what happened to Perrette: She ignored the symptoms six months ago. Her hospital visit could have been prevented had the actress stopped using the dye after those initial signs appeared.

Because she's a nice person who cares about the health of others, Perrette is being extremely vocal about her experience, tweeting pictures and cautioning her fans. It's really refreshing to see a celebrity using less-than-perfect photos of herself to spread awareness about a dangerous health issue. Since hair-dye allergies aren't frequently talked about, Perrette's in-hospital selfies are doing a huge service in terms of getting the message out there.

So, let's all learn from Perrette and solemnly swear to listen more closely to our bodies — no matter how much we love our hair color. And, for good measure, here's a few natural hair-dye options. Just in case any of you might currently be experiencing a little itchy redness on your scalp... (CBS)