Possible allergy to indigo? Please help! :( Desperate to continue using!

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2016-03-15 00:19
Possible allergy to indigo? Please help! :( Desperate to continue using!


Hi everyone,

My apologies - this is going to be a long post but I am desperate for help!  I will also begin by saying that I have read all of the indigo allergy posts I could find here and no ones symptoms completely matched mine. 

Let me explain my hair dye history.... I began using henna and indigo (all purchased from Mehandi) about 3 months ago after realizing I am allergic to chemical hair dye in September (FYI - I was using a non-PPD chemical dye then). When I had the chemical allergy, it progressively worsened from mild symptoms to severe which resulted in scalp tightness so severe I could barely sleep or rest on it for many weeks, bleeding in some spots,  severe itchiness on the scalp mainly around the hairline and ears, rashes all over my body, and mild swelling.  The swelling affected the sides of my scalp and formed a bump on my forehead that lasted for about a week (it looked like I had hit my head). The dye burned SO bad that I was literally shaking and shivering before washing it off.

Now for my current reaction... I have used henna and indigo, the 2-step process for beautiful black hair and ONLY to my roots, 4 times now and on the 4th use have developed the same bump on my forehead although much, much more mild than the swelling from the chemical reaction. I would almost describe it as just puffy. I also got some redness around my hairline (scalp was completely fine) and a couple very mild rashy bumps in one spot on my forehead.  These symptoms were all gone the next day (couldn't figure out if the redness was just from the henna). I have no other symptoms like other allergic users reported - no itching, no headache. In fact, as with every other use, the indigo felt very comfortable while on my scalp. My head is always a little sore after using henna and indigo but I feel like that is likely from the heaviness of it.

A couple other things to note with this application was that I used A LOT of salt (just regular salt from the grocery store), scrubbed hard to get the henna and indigo off, and didn't shampoo or condition after indigo use. I also had wrapped Saran Wrap very tightly around my head and forehead and wore a hat over it. I did find my forehead got a little itchy from this but not where the henna/indigo was. 

Please, PLEASE help! I am terrified that I am now allergic to indigo but love the results so much! I NEED to keep dying my hair black and will do anything. Please give me your thoughts. Is there possibly another explanation for the mild swelling and hairline redness?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! xo 

Jocelyn (not verified)
Allergy to Indigo

Hello Adalia,

So sorry to hear of your reactions but I'm glad you've found our products.

Allergies to plant powders (henna, indigo and cassia) are very rare. When you do have an allergy to plant powders it is a similar reaction if you had allergies to trees, weeds, and grass.

The symptoms your describing above could be caused from heat. Between the henna and wrapping your hair it does get quite warm.

The only to tell if you are truly allergic to indigo is to do a patch test. You can do this by mixing a small amount of indigo and then apply a small (nickel sized) amount to your arm. You can also consult an allergist for further testing.

I hope this helps!

Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2016-03-15 00:19
Indigo allergy

Hi Jocelyn,

Thank you so much for your reply, Jocelyn! That info is definitely helpful.  I went ahead and did the patch test (I put the indigo on my wrist and also on my neck) and no problems! No swelling, no redness, no itchiness. I just hope it will be like this the next time I use it on my head! 

What you said is actually very interesting - so if I am allergic to indigo, my reaction would be different than the reaction I experienced to the chemical dye?  It was just so upsetting for me to see the same swelling (but much more mild) as when I used the dye.

If it is just like the trees, pollens, grass allergy - then can I continue use even if I do have another episode of swelling from it?  

Thank you for your help!! I just can't imagine giving this stuff up - I get an even more beautiful shade of black than I did with hair dye, I love the smell when it's on (I find the process relaxing), and I am so happy that I'm not putting chemicals on my scalp every month!

Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2015-07-22 16:06
Indigo Allergy


Everyone can respond to indigo a little differently. Some get itching, some get headaches. None of the symptoms will ever get as bad as what you can get from chemical hair dyes with PPD (which can land you in the hospital). Some people just take an allergy medicine before doing their application, and find that it helps. As long as you feel comfortable continuing to use it, you can. I'd recommend being very gentle with your scalp for a couple days before application, so no harsh scrubbing or anything like that. That could lessen the effects of indigo allergies on your skin.

Like Jocelyn said, it could also be due to the heat of having the dye all wrapped up on your head for so long, or a number of other things. I hope it doesn't happen again, though!

Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2016-03-15 00:19
No Indigo allergy this time - hope for no allergies anymore!


Thank you for your responses! They made me feel much better and it's interesting to know that the indigo allergy is just like a seasonal allergy to plants - for some reason I was worried it was similar to the dye allergy.

Anyways, I did a test patch on my neck, behind my ear, and on my wrist and got NO reaction at all. I went ahead and applied my henna and indigo two-step process about a week after the good results from the patch test, and am pleased to say I had no reaction this time! I did make some changes to my mix and application though - I did not use any salt (I previously used A LOT), and I did not wrap the Saran Wrap over my forehead as that is where I got the swelling bump last time.

I am planning on doing my whole head in a few days and I am really, really hoping that application goes well also! Fingers crossed for no more allergies. xx

I love my Mehandi henna and indigo - everyone says it even looks much better than my old box dye!! 

Log in or register to post comments