BY PHOEBE MCRAE
If you’ve ever dyed your hair, you’re bound to have got at least one splash of hair dye on your skin, be it on your neck, face, ears, or hands, especially if you’ve done an at-home DIY job. And it isn’t exactly easy to get rid of the resulting stains, either. “The pigment in hair dye is designed to penetrate through the outer cuticle of the hair and remain there, giving a long-lasting color to the hair shaft,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at the Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology told Good Housekeeping.
“If exposed to the skin, it can also penetrate through its outer layer, causing a semi-permanent tint to your skin.” While hair dye on the skin is no cause for serious concern, it can irritate certain skin types, especially those with sensitive skin and those who use a retinoid, so Zeichner recommends you remove it as soon as possible.
The simplest way to remove hair dye from skin is with cleanser and water
A non-soap cleanser and water is the simplest way to get rid of hair dye on skin, says Zeichner. If that fails, try (very gently) using rubbing alcohol, which should do the trick. If you go down this route, it’s important to remember to moisturize the affected area afterward. “It is important to repair the skin barrier with a moisturizer,” Zeichner noted, adding, “I recommend a petrolatum-based product, as it forms a protective seal over the skin.”
If Zeichner’s method doesn’t remove every single speck of hair dye on your body, or you simply can’t reach it, you can rest easy knowing that it will fade eventually. “The good news is, in time, as your skin cells naturally turnover, you will shed the pigment within one to two weeks on its own,” says Zeichner.