Bigen Hair Color (Dye That Actually Can Kill You)
This is my first-ever blog, I feel compelled to share this information in case it may help someone else.
Until four months ago I had used this product regularly for about 10 years. I had been told by a stylist that Bigen was a completely natural ‘black henna’ and I really liked the idea of using something all natural. As an avid swimmer and surfer, the staying power of this product was amazing on my ash-blondey hair, so I was pretty devoted to it. Coincidentally, I also had to be put on oral corticosteroids, allergy shots, daily antihistamines and every allergy medication on the market for about 10 years because of extremely severe “UNKNOWN” allergies that included facial swelling, migraine headaches, full-body giant hives, severe asthma, anaphylactic shock, some form of migrating dermatitis and bouts of unexplained “heat” and itching flashes and rashes every month.
I feel SOOO incredibly stupid for NEVER associating any of these symptoms with my black hair dye, but the reactions were often delayed, escalating over the course of a week or even two. My 24 hr skin tests were not enough time to develop a reaction and I would usually color the next day. By the time my reaction was subsiding it was time to color my hair again... an endless cycle of allergic reactions.
I honestly can’t even count how many specialists I have been to over the last ten years (including the head of asthma and allergy at UCLA, multiple department heads at Scripps Clinic and a very reputable Stanford physician, to mention a few) and not ONE had ever asked me about hair dyes, and my hair is obviously dyed black. Four months ago my friend had to be hospitalized with giant lesions and breathing problems a few days after her stylist used Bigen on her hair. After researching the ingredients and reading the articles on the internet I realized what my “UNKNOWN” allergy had been for a DECADE! I immediately threw out all the Bigen products in my house and have not dyed my hair since. I do have a bizarre ashy-grey landing strip on top of my head but I don’t care because the symptoms have subsided and I am almost off all the medications (a very tricky process after 10 years). Using this product has cost my family, myself and my many insurance companies tens of thousands of dollars, enormous stress and ten years of suffering. I have so many secondary problems from the corticosteroids that I may have permanent damage for life. BUT...
I am incredibly thankful that I feel better and that this was brought to my attention so I can avoid the thing that was poisoning me. I wanted to share this information in case it might help someone else.
Bigen is not natural (as in plant based) or black henna (there is no such thing). It is a highly concentrated chemical dye made of 3 (according to the label) forms of PPD; a chemical used in printing ink and toner as well as being associated with coal or tar. This chemical is a known skin sensitizer and can cause life-threatening reactions and has been banned in some countries. I have not seen category statistics, but it is suggested that Bigen contains many times the “safe” amount of PPD that is allowed by the FDA for cosmetic uses, including hair dyes. It is a Japanese product and somehow beyond FDA regulation despite it’s distribution in the US.
The listed ingredients in order are;
Sodium Perborate; an oxidizing (bleaching) detergent
Cellulose Gum; A food-grade thickener
Sodium Sulfate; Sulfuric acid salt (used to make detergent)
Sodium Carbonate; Carbonic acid salt (dye fixative, also used to melt flesh off bones for taxidermy)
Paraphenylenediamine Sulfate; (PPD)
P-Aminophenol; Rodinol (B&W photo developer)
Disodium Lauryl Sufosuccinate; A salt that is not known to be toxic
Magnesium stearate; Soap scum (filler that increases volume of powder)
2-Nitro-P-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, (PPD)
4-Nitro-O-Phenylenediamine Sulfate. (PPD)
My guess is that there is also some form of Henna in this product as the base is very red, which I believe makes it a compound dye as well. Henna is not a listed ingredient, so I wonder what else may not be listed?
I’m sorry I didn’t include a bibliographies with each ingredient. I didn’t think of it, at the time I was just compiling information for myself. The below definitions of each chemical and information herein can be found by typing the ingredient name individually into a search engine. If a Wikipedia description was unavailable, I used articles with the most relevant information. Excessive pharmacological terminology was omitted for easier comprehension.
Bigen (Hoyu Japan) ingredients
Sodium Perborate,Sodium perborate (SPB) is used in the detergent industry as a bleaching agent. It serves as a source of active oxygen in many detergents, laundry detergents, cleaning products, and laundry bleaches. It is also present in some tooth bleaching formulas. Sodium perborate is a less aggressive bleach than sodium hypochlorite, causing less degradation to dyes and textiles.
Cellulose Gum,Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is used in food science as a viscosity modifier or thickener, and to stabilize emulsions in various products including ice cream. As a food additive, it has E number E466. It is also a constituent of many non-food products, such as K-Y Jelly, toothpaste, laxatives, diet pills, water-based paints, detergents, textile sizing and various paper products. It is used primarily because it has high viscosity, is non-toxic, and is non-allergenic. In laundry detergents it is used as a soil suspension polymer designed to deposit onto cotton and other cellulosic fabrics creating a negatively charged barrier to soils in the wash solution. Cellulose gum is used in cosmetic products such as hair gel, shaving cream, shampoos and beauty masks as a thickener.
Sodium Carbonate, Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda, soda crystals or soda ash or "Soda Carbonate"), Na2CO3, is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. Sodium carbonate is also used as a relatively strong base in various settings. For example, sodium carbonate is used as a pH regulator to maintain stable alkaline conditions necessary for the action of the majority of developing agents. It is a common additive in municipal pools used to neutralize the acidic effects of chlorine and raise pH. In taxidermy, sodium carbonate added to boiling water will remove flesh from the skull or bones of trophies to create the "European skull mount" or for educational display in biological and historical studies. In domestic use, it is used as a water softener during laundry. In dyeing with fiber-reactive dyes, sodium carbonate (often under a name such as soda ash fixative or soda ash activator) is used to ensure proper chemical bonding of the dye with the fibers, typically before dyeing (for tie dyes), mixed with the dye (for dye painting), or after dyeing (for immersion dyeing).
P-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, (PPD) No Wikipedia definition available. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is a chemical substance that is widely used as a permanent hair dye. It may also been found in textile or fur dyes, dark coloured cosmetics, temporary tattoos, photographic developer and lithography plates, photocopying and printing inks, black rubber, oils, greases and gasoline.
The use of PPD as a hair dye is popular because it is a permanent dye that gives a natural look. Hair can also be shampooed without becoming decoloured and perming to achieve waves or curls can be done without difficulty. PPD is a colourless substance that requires oxygen for it to become coloured. It is this intermediate, partially oxidised state that may cause allergy in sensitive individuals. Fully oxidized PPD is not a sensitiser thus individuals with PPD allergy can wear wigs or fur coats dyed with PPD safely. Reaction caused by the use of hair dye in mild cases usually only involves dermatitis to the upper eyelids or the rims of the ears. In more severe cases, there may be marked reddening and swelling of the scalp and the face. The eyelids may completely close and the allergic contact dermatitis reaction may become widespread. Severe allergy to PPD can result in contact urticaria and anaphylaxis. In acute severe cases of PPD hair dye dermatitis, wash the hair and scalp thoroughly with a mild soap or soapless shampoo to remove the excess dye. Apply a 2% hydrogen peroxide solution or compresses of potassium permanganate in a 1:5000 dilution to completely oxidise the PPD. To soothe, soften the crust and alleviate the tight feeling of the scalp, a wet dressing of cold olive oil and lime may be used. Further treatment with a topical application of an emulsion of water and water-miscible corticosteroid cream, or oral corticosteroids may be indicated.
“Sensitization by para-phenylenediamine(PPD) has been considered by some countries to be so great a hazard that its use in hair dyes was banned in Germany in the early 1900’s. It was subsequently prohibited in France, and in 1964 in Sweden; however in Japan PPD is still used as a common component in hair dyes.”
p-Phenylenediamine hair dye dermatitis is common in Singapore. PPD hair dyes are preferred for colouring, as they impart a long-lasting jet-black colour. PPD is a potent skin sensitizer; it can cause angio-neurotic edema, collapse, and renal failure in severe cases. Severe cases of immediate type hypersensitivity to PPD described in which the patients developed severe edema, irritation of the eyes and face and also difficulty in breathing. p-Phenylenediamine has been reported to increase the formation of liver tumors in mice. Numerous MSDS report that repeated and/or prolonged exposure can cause asthma. Acute exposure to high levels of p-Phenylenediamine may cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions, and coma in humans.
Alternative names for PPD - paraphenylenediamine
PPD or PPDA, Phenylenediamine base, p-Phenylenediamine, 4Phenylenediamine, 4-Paraphenylenediamine 1,4-Phenylenediamine, 4-Benzenediamine, 1,4-Benzenediamine, para-Diaminobenzene (p-Diaminobenzene), para-Aminoaniline (p-Aminoaniline), Orsin™, Rodol™, Ursol™, 2 - Nitro - 1,4 - diaminobenzene, Dye GS, Durafur Brown 2R, Fouramine 2R, 1,4 - Diaminonitrobenzol (German), 1,4 - Diamino - 2 - nitrobenzene, C.I. Oxidation Base 22, Fourrine Brown 2R, NCI - C02222, 4 - Amino - 2 - nitroaniline, 2 - Nitro - 1,4 - benzenediamine, Fourrine 36, o - Nitro - p - phenylenediamine, 2 - Nitro - 1,4 - phenylenediamine, Nitro - p - phenylenediamine, 2 - Nitro - p - phenylenediamine, Oxidation Base 22, Ursol Brown RR, C.I. 76070, Zoba Brown RR, 2 - Nitro - 4 - aminoaniline,
- Azo and aniline dyes
- Benzocaine / Procaine
- Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
- Para-aminosalicylic acid
P-Aminophenol, ami·no·phe·nol/ (-fe´nol) a dye intermediate and photographic developer, it is a potent allergen that causes dermatitis, asthma, and methemoglobinemia. Commonly used as a developer in black and white film, marketed under the name Rodinal.
Disodium Lauryl Sufosuccinate, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate is the disodium salt of a lauryl alcohol half ester ofsulfosuccinic acid. Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel. Not suspected to be an environmental toxin
Magnesium Stearate, Magnesium stearate, also called octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt, is a white substance which is solid at room temperature. Magnesium stearate is often used as a diluent or filler in the manufacture of medical tablets, capsules and powders. By increasing the bulk volume, the fillers make it possible for the final product to have the proper volume for consumer handling. Magnesium stearate is a major component of "bathtub rings". When produced by soap and hard water, magnesium stearate and calcium stearate both form a white solid insoluble in water, and are collectively known as "soap scum".
2-Nitro-P-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, (PPD) See P-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, (PPD) above
4-Nitro-O-Phenylenediamine Sulfate. (PPD)See P-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, (PPD) above