A growing number of men who used Just for Men® hair dye have reported severe allergic reactions and burns. Skin discoloration has also been reported by Hispanic and African American men.

What is Just for Men?

Just for Men is a hair dye that is marketed for aging men with gray hair. It is formulated to work for scalp hair, beards, sideburns, and mustaches. It is manufactured by Combe, Inc., and has been sold in the United States since 1987.

What is the problem? has received over 400 reports from men who experienced problems after using Just for Men. According to one complaint:

“I had a burning sensation as well, and after rinsing it off, I thought I was fine. The next day, my face and neck had swollen up horribly. The following morning my skin had begun to weep as well, and I went to the ER. I was admitted immediately, as it looked horrible. They were concerned about my throat swelling shut. I am nearly 50 and do not have any allergies that I know of. Whatever is in this stuff is harsh. I needed steroids and Benadryl.”

Chemical Burns and Allergic Dermatitis

Some users experienced allergic reactions after using Just for Men for over a decade. They believe there was a “recent chemical formula change.” However, a spokeswoman for Just for Men told ConsumerAffairs that the formula has not been changed in the last seven years.

It is possible that the allergic reactions are caused by p-Phenylenediamine (PDD), a dark chemical that has been used in most permanent hair dyes since the 1980s. According to the North American Contact Dermatitis Society, this ingredient causes positive skin-patch allergy test results in 5-7% of people. Furthermore, sensitivity to this ingredient can increase over time.

What Should I Do?

Before using Just for Men, you should always do a “patch test” on a small section of skin on the inside bend of your elbow. If you have a reaction, do not use Just for Men. Even if you have safely used Just for Men in the past, you should always do a “patch test” because body chemistry can change over time.

“You must do this patch test on the inside bend of your elbow 48-hours ahead of each and every use in order to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.

How to do a skin allergy test:

  • With mild soap and water, wash an area about the size of a quarter on the inside bend of your elbow. Then pat dry.
  • Unscrew the caps from the Color Developer and the Color Base tubes. Mix small, equal parts of the Color Base and the Color Developer in the mixing tray with the plastic end of the brush. Tightly recap both tubes.
  • Apply mixture with a cotton ball or swab to a test area the size of a quarter on the inside bend of your elbow. Allow to dry.
  • Examine the test area during the next 48-hours. If you get no reaction on the unwashed patch test site after 48-hours, go ahead with full application of Just For Men.

Symptoms of a Chemical Burn or Skin Allergy

  • Skin inflammation
  • Painful rash or burning
  • Hives (itchy raised welts)
  • Swelling of the eyes/face
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Scalp weeping
  • Dizziness
  • Faintness
  • Problems breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • And more


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