While hair dye products are not necessarily unsafe for the under 16s, children have much finer hair and greater sensitivity to chemicals than adults, which increases the likelihood of hair dye solutions damaging their hair. They are also more likely to develop allergies from exposure to these chemical ingredients which may affect their health in the future. All legal hair dye products used in the UK are labelled as “not intended for use on persons under the age of 16”, and any salon which offers hair dye treatments to clients under that age will not be covered by their insurance in the event of a procedure going wrong.
Despite this, many hair salons ignore the possible consequences and continue to offer hair dye treatments to children. In 2017, BBC Wales sent a 12-year-old girl undercover to try and get her hair dyed at a hairdressing salon, and found that only one out of the 17 salons she visited refused to offer her an appointment. This largely reflects the unregulated and competitive nature of the hairdressing industry in the UK. Salons are not legally obliged to follow industry guidelines or the advice of hair dye manufacturers, yet should still be well aware of the risks.
The potent chemicals contained in most hair dye products include hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, which can dry the hair out excessively and harm its structure, as well as P-phenylenediamine (PPD), a common trigger of allergic reactions. Hair dye products may cause burns and hair loss if they are applied directly to the skin on the scalp, while children may also be affected by fumes from the ammonia contained in hair dye solutions, particularly if they are asthmatic.
Hair salons must follow the recommendations of manufacturers and industry bodies to avoid the possibility of children getting injured by hair dye treatments. You can find more about allergic reactions to hair dye and the legal service provided by our female solicitors who specialise in hairdresser treatment injuries: