Woman left blind for three days after using out of date hair dye

Woman left blind for three days after using out of date hair dye

Mother, 43, was left blind for three days and went into anaphylactic shock after applying out of date hair dye without doing a patch test

  • Jessie Sullivan, 43, from Beckenham, London, used same hair dye for years 
  • Woke up with itching and swollen face and struggled to open her eyes
  • At GP surgery she went into anaphylactic shock and had to be taken to hospital
  • Had to wear a bandana to grandson’s birthday party to not scare children  

A school cook has vowed to never dye her hair again after claiming a horror allergic reaction to black dye left terrified kids screaming at the sight of her grossly swollen face.

Horrifying photos show how Jessie Sullivan’s face ballooned and her skin erupted in a red, lumpy rash after reportedly dying her hair using the Schwarzkopf product last Saturday.

The 43-year-old gran, from Beckenham, London, said she was temporarily blinded for three days and went into anaphylactic shock after suffering a severe allergic reaction to the Schwarzkopf Live dye in shade Cosmic Blue.

Jessie thought she wouldn’t need a patch test because she’d previously used the product every four months for years without a problem, although she admitted the pack she used expired in 2021.

When the school cook woke up the following day, her face had ballooned so much that her eyelids closed over leaving her unable to see and red welts erupted across her scalp and neck.

Jessie Sullivan, 43, from  Beckenham, London, said she was temporarily blinded for three days and went into anaphylactic shock after suffering a severe allergic reaction to the Schwarzkopf Live dye in shade Cosmic Blue

The school cook as she normally looks. Jessie has been using the same shade of hair dye for years, and admitted she didn’t do a patch test because she’d never had a problem previously 

The skin on Jessie’s head and neck is still red, sore and crusty as she heals from the hair dye ordeal 

While at her GP’s surgery on Monday, Jessie went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed to hospital where she was given a shot of adrenaline and put on a drip of steroids, antibiotics and pain medication.

Days after her terrifying hospital trip the mum-of-four opened her front door to a stranger she’d sold a high chair to.

The woman’s two children were so scared by the sight of her ballooned face they screamed in horror and mortified Jessie handed the high chair over for free.

Schwarzkopf said they were sorry to hear about her experience and urged all users to do allergy tests every time before using the hair dye.

Jessie wore a bandana to her grandson’s birthday party to avoid scaring more children with her appearance after the hair dye disaster 

Emergency: The school cook ended up in hospital after going into anaphylactic shock at her GP’s surgery and was given a shot of adrenaline 

Jessie said: ‘The itching came first then the swelling and my tongue felt funny. I woke up the next day and couldn’t open my eyes.

‘When I looked in the mirror, I was absolutely devastated.

‘I went to the doctors to get some antibiotics and steroids. They knew it was an allergic reaction but the day after, I couldn’t even take my daughter to school and I couldn’t physically go to work.

‘I called the doctors to say my tongue really hurt and it just went blank.

‘I went into anaphylactic shock and my throat was swelling so the paramedics came and I was given a shot of adrenaline.


Jessie, pictured left before her hair dye disaster, had been using the same shade for years without any problems (left). She was prescribed steroids, antibiotics and a special shampoo but her face is still swollen (right)

‘They blue-lighted me to hospital and said if I went into shock again it wouldn’t be great.

‘A couple of days later I sold a high chair to a woman and she came to the door [to collect it].

‘I was so used to my eyelids being swollen and sore that I completely forgot and both of the two children with her just screamed.

‘I said, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry’ and I gave them the high chair for free”.’

Jessie is still recovering from the incident and has sore patches of crusty skin on her face and neck 

After making an appointment at her GP’s surgery on Monday she went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed to Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, south London.

Jessie said she didn’t do a patch test before colouring her locks as she’s used it previously with no problems.

Jessie said: ‘It’s the colour I normally use and I’ve never had a problem with it. I’ve been using it for years which is why I didn’t do a patch test.

‘It said on the box that it expired in 2021 but it still shouldn’t have done that.’

Jessie was giving her hair a makeover in time for her and her grandson’s birthday but ended up forced to wear a bandana to the party.

Jessie said: ‘My skin on my head and neck is very crusty.

‘It’s not nice at all, I’m still really sore. I’m still in a bad way but it’s manageable.

Coering up: Jessie is tryting to hide the sore patches on her head when she goes out by using a bandana or towel 

‘I had to wear a bandana to my grandson’s birthday party which hurt. It was burning the hell out of me but I couldn’t go to a kid’s party like that.

‘It’s my birthday as well so it’s nice to do your hair and get dressed up and it’s something to do when the kids go to their dad’s.’

Jessie was prescribed steroids, antibiotics and a special shampoo but her face is still swollen and she was forced to take time off work.

She’s vowed never to dye her hair again and is speaking out to warn others of the importance of doing a patch test.

After being left with a dramatically swollen face, Jessie has vowed not use home hair dye again and ‘grow old gracefully’ 

Jessie said: ‘It’s been doctors, doctors, doctors. I’ll never dye my hair again. I’m going to grow old gracefully. I’ll never touch it again.’

A Schwarzkopf spokesman said: ‘We were sorry to hear about Jessie Sullivan’s experience and wish her a speedy recovery.

‘We would also ask her to contact us so that we can offer expert help to identify the cause of her reaction.

‘We urge everyone to read the instructions and do an allergy alert test before using hair colour, even if they have used the brand or specific colour before, as allergies can build up over time.’

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