£8,300 awarded for hair loss after salon accident | Case Study

In 2010 compensation of £8,300 was awarded to a 24 year-old woman for hair and scalp injuries including contact dermatitis and alopecia suffered after a hairdresser used incorrect hair dye products three years earlier.

Injury details

The claimant visited the defendant's hair salon to have her hair lightened. She had a history of dermatitis and asked that natural products were used. A patch test was carried out with no ill effects

However, when she returned to salon for the full treatment, the stylist did not use natural products. The claimant's hair did not achieve the colour as expected. The stylist used several applications of bleach in an attempt to reach the desired colour. When this did not work she dyed the claimant's hair dark again to cover up the poor result.

The claimant began to suffer symptoms almost immediately. Her scalp, cheeks and ears became red and she had swelling on her scalp and ears. She went to A&E and was given steroids and painkillers.

Her scalp appeared infected for two days. Her head had cuts and her hair was damaged from excessive chemicals. Over the following months she developed alopecia areata. Bald patches appeared at the back of her head.

A dermatologist diagnosed acute dermatitis caused by skin exposure to chemicals. The alopecia was a direct result of the acute dermatitis. The claimant wore a wig to hide the bald patches.

She suffered an adverse psychiatric reaction. She became anxious, short-tempered and depressed. On some occasions she self-harmed.

A psychiatric expert diagnosed an adjustment disorder. Cognitive behavioural therapy was recommended to treat the psychiatric injuries.

After a year the hair began to grow back. Three years after the incident the hair had grown back fully.

The claimant was left sensitive to the hair dye chemicals. Any future exposure would trigger another acute episode.


It was alleged the defendant was negligent insofar as they applied excessive quantities of a bleach product. The process was repeated several times.

The claimant suffered acute contact dermatitis and contact irritant dermatitis as a result. Her scalp suffered burns and wounds.

Psychiatric injuries were caused. The claimant would not have suffered psychiatric problems had it not been for the negligence of the defendant.

Conclusion and settlement

Liability was admitted and the matter did not progress to a Court hearing.

Compensation of £8,300 was accepted by way of an out of Court settlement.

£6,500 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."

Future therapy sessions costing £1,500 were accepted.

£300 in sundry expenses and interest was awarded.

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