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p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) (pronounced para-phenylene-diamine), also called 1,4-diaminobenzene or 1,4-phenylenediamine, is an aromatic amine used as a component of engineering polymers and composites, aramid fibers, hair dyes, rubber chemicals, textile dyes and pigments. PPD is selected because of its low toxicity, high temperature stability, high strength, and chemical and electrical resistance.

p-PhenylenediamineUse in hair dye and for body art

This product is added to real henna or used alone to create black tattoo-like body art. This compound is used in almost every hair dye on the market, regardless of brand. The darker the colour, usually, the higher the concentration. Even the so-called "natural" and "herbal" hair colours, while ammonia-free, contain PPD. Some products sold as henna have PPD added, particularly "black henna". Using body art quality (BAQ) pure henna, or indigo is the only way to avoid PPD in hair dye.

Allergic reaction and allergic sensitization

The CDC lists p-phenylenediamine as being a contact allergen. The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards lists exposure routes as being through inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, and skin and/or eye contact; symptoms of exposure include throat irritation (pharynx and larynx), bronchial asthma, and sensitization dermatitis. Sensitization is a lifelong issue, which may lead to active sensitization to black clothing, printer's ink, fax ink, hair dye, fur dye, leather dye, and photographic products among many other products. One maker of this product states explicitly that it should not be used directly on the skin, however, they admit that other manufacturers of PPD may or may not warn the same.

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.

Some misinformation twists have led to PPD being described as a black mineral from the banks of the River Nile. This gives PPD an undeserved distinction as being both natural and exotic, which it is not.


Some alternative names for para-phenylenediamine

PPD or PPDA, Phenylenediamine base, p-Phenylenediamine, 4-Phenylenediamine, 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

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