A teenager has told how she feared she would be left disfigured for life after suffering a terrifying allergic reaction to hair dye.
Lauren Thomas, 16, said her head inflated like a football and her scalp started oozing puss just hours after using a home hair dying kit.
Lauren, who has a Saturday job in a hair salon and hopes to become a hairdresser when she leaves school, said she feared she would ‘never look normal again’ after suffering the reaction during the summer holidays.
Lauren Thomas pictured before the incident left, said she didn't recognise herself after she suffered an allergic reaction to hair dye. The 16-year-old is pictured right, with a swollen face and her scalp oozing puss
She said: ‘I was terrified. I did not recognise myself and I started crying because I was so scared.
'I didn’t know what was happening and the more my head swelled the more I feared the worst.
'I was scared I would die. It took more than a week to go down and even when I knew I was going to be OK I was still worried I would never look the same again.'
Lauren from Trallwn, Llansamlet near Swansea, had dyed her hair at home using the well-known brand ‘Nice n’ Easy’ by Clairol several times already with no adverse affects.
Because of this she didn’t carry out a test patch as instructed on the box.
Her aunt helped her use the dye as per the instructions on the package as she had before, but within hours of rinsing it off her scalp started itching.
GCSE student Lauren said: ‘At first I didn’t think about the dye. I thought I had nits. I even asked my aunt to check my hair for nits because I was itching so much but she assured me it was clear.
‘I kept washing my hair but the itching just got worse and worse.’
Then as she went to bed that night Lauren caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and noticed her eye was swollen.
The hair dye left, that caused Lauren to have an allergic reaction. Her eyes are pictured still swollen, right
‘I was staying with my Nan that night so I called her and she agreed it was swollen but said we should wait until the morning to see if it had gone down.'
But at 3am Lauren woke in pain and unable to open one eye. When she looked in the mirror she screamed. ‘I looked like a monster, I was crying and Nan came and cuddled me to calm me down.
She added: ‘That’s when we noticed my head was weeping puss so she gave me a towel to lay on and I just sobbed waiting for the doctors to open.’
Their GP conformed Lauren had suffered an allergic reaction to hair dye and prescribed steroid cream for her scalp and antihystamines to control the swelling.
But it took a full week for the swelling to reside, leaving Lauren, who was self-conscious, trapped in her bedroom.
She said: ‘ I will never dye my hair at home again and even in the salon now I am really careful around dye and always use gloves to handle it.
‘I had used the same dye lots of times before so I’ve no idea why it happened, but I won’t take any chances now. I never want to look like that again.
‘It definitely hadn’t put me off wanting to be a hairdresser. In fact it shows why people should always have their hair dyed in a saloon and not at home. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.’
A spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, which makes Clairol hair dye, said: 'We are sorry to hear about the situation. Our consumers’ safety and wellbeing is our absolute priority.
'Reactions to hair colourants can occur for a very small number of people, in the same way that some individuals can react to a variety of foods and natural substances.'