allergic reaction

Allergic to Colors? 5 Dyes Your Skin Might React To

Allergic to Colors? 5 Dyes Your Skin Might React To

If you’re wearing a colored shirt and hives suddenly sprouted all over your body then there’s a chance that you might be allergic to certain dyes. If that’s the case then you should be allergic to the following dyes:


annatto seeds

Annatto is often used as a yellow food dye and this comes from Bixia orellana, a tree that grows in South America. But it can also be used as a dye for clothes and both the dye used in clothes and food can sometimes trigger an allergic reaction to some people. The reaction that occurs from this allergen can be severe sometimes. 

People who discovered to be allergic to annatto experienced anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Others experienced developing urticaria after coming into contact with annatto either through wearing clothes with this dye or eating foods with this food coloring.


Another food dye, colored red, Carmine comes from the insect Dactylopius coccus CostaThis dye can often be found in cosmetics, red yogurt, popsicles, drinks and some clothes. People who are allergic to this substance often are allergic to other allergens found in nature.


Saffron is a yellow dye found in the Crocus sativa plant and it is often used as a spice in foods. It’s one of the most popular spices in the world and it has been used for over 3,500 years.

Unfortunately, some people have developed an allergic reaction to this dye and those who are easily triggered by this allergen develop anaphylaxis and require immediate medical attention when they come into contact with it.

Although, most reports that show people who experience anaphylactic shock to saffron trigger their allergy when they ingest the dye rather than when they come into contact with it through their clothes. But for safety precautions if you suspect that you’re allergic to saffron best to avoid it in foods and clothes.



Another yellow dye, tartrazine has been discovered to develop skin allergies such as eczema and urticaria to some people. People who are allergic to this dye, more famously known as FD&C Yellow Dye #5, also develop asthma from constant contact with it.

Paraphenylenediamine (PPD)


This dye is colored black and there have been reports wherein people who wore clothes that are colored black or people who used black dye to color their hair claimed that their skin started to itch, peel, dry out and even sting upon immediate contact with it. 

Some people are severely allergic to black dye that even the ink used in newspapers can trigger an allergic reaction. If you suspect that you’re allergic to this dye then the only remedy is to avoid any item that has black dye in it, but considering that a lot of everyday items have black dye it’s quite difficult to avoid them all. These are just some of the dyes that some people are allergic to.

It may be daunting to know that seemingly harmless dyes can cause severe allergic reactions but the good thing is the current population of people allergic to dyes is still low. Also, many clothing companies are now employing hypoallergenic dyes that can still add some panache to their clothes without the dangers of triggering an allergic reaction.

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not, and will never be, intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, from text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. 

Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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LeJean Sommerville

LeJean Sommerville

Great explanations for reaction to dyes.
I even reacted to the black dye in your clothes. 😞
After the return date. I had a terrible “everywhere “ reaction.

Thank you for the info

Raghav Purohit

Raghav Purohit

Great info! I really like the way you describe each point in a very effective and informative way.

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