Sensitivity and specificity of the consumer open skin allergy test as a method of prediction of contact dermatitis to hair dyes

Maya Krasteva, Martin Cottin, Antonio Cristaudo, Gérard Lainé, Gerhard Nohynek, David Orton, Hervé Toutain, Vincenzo Severino, John Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To prevent contact dermatitis to oxidative hair colouring products, a consumer test (skin allergy test, SAT) consisting of the open application of the colourant base prior to mixing with the developer is recommended 48 hours before hair colouring. We investigated the sensitivity and specificity of the SAT to detect and prevent contact allergy to oxidative hair colouring products that contained a range of concentrations of para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and corresponded to different shades (light, medium and dark). Test colouring products containing increasing concentrations of PPD (0.1, 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5%) were applied to 34 PPD-positive hair dye-allergic individuals and to 49 non-allergic control subjects. Allergic reactions were elicited in all PPD-positive subjects whereas none occurred in control PPD-negative subjects. For each subject the eliciting concentration of PPD in the SAT was compared with the PPD concentration range of the group of commercial shades reported as causing reactions by the consumer. In all PPD-positive subjects the eliciting concentrations of PPD in the SAT was within or lower than the range of PPD concentrations in the reported eliciting colourant base of commercial products. In conclusion, our results confirm the excellent predictive value of the SAT over the entire range of PPD concentrations used in oxidative hair colouring products and suggest that the test is a suitable tool for the secondary prevention of contact allergic reactions to hair colouring products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Elicitation thresholds
  • Hair colouring products
  • Open testing
  • Paraphenylenediamine
  • Skin sensitivity test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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