Just for Men lawsuits are mass tort claims against Combe Incorporated for severe allergic reactions caused by the popular hair dying product. Some of the injuries caused by these allergic reactions have been severe or even permanently disfiguring. The lawsuits claim that the company making Just for Men, Combe Incorporated, failed to warn people of the risks of an allergic reaction. The lawsuits demand compensation for:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Reduced earning capacity, and
- Pain and suffering.
- 1. What is Just for Men?
- 2. Allergic reactions caused by Just for Men
- 3. Lawsuits over allergic reactions to Just for Men
- 4. Compensation for victims of Just for Men
- 5. What to do if you have had an allergic reaction to Just for Men
1. What is Just for Men?
Just for Men is a brand name hair coloring product. It is marketed as a way for men to cover up graying hair or beard. It comes in a handful of different product lines, including:
- Original Formula,
- Control GX,
- Mustache & Beard, and
- Touch of Gray.
Just for Men was originally introduced in 1987, and is now sold across the world.
Importantly, Just for Men relies heavily on the chemical p-phenylenediamine, or PPD, which gets darker when it comes into contact with oxygen. The oxidization and therefore the color of PPD can be controlled by adding a dye precursor to the hair dye. Because the color comes from chemical oxidization rather than a more traditional coloring, it does not wash out with soap and water.
2. Allergic reactions caused by Just for Men
Just for Men's active ingredient, PPD, is a known allergen that can cause allergic reactions that can damage the skin or create other medical problems. Some of these side effects of Just for Men include:
- Skin rash,
- Sores that weep liquid,
- Redness and discoloration,
- Skin lesions,
- Severe irritation, burning, and itchiness,
- Chemical burns,
- Swelling of the face and throat, and
The amount of PPD in Just for Men products appears to increase in darker hair dyes.
The odds of having an allergic reaction to PPD are not small. One study tested 2,939 people and found that 4.5% of them were allergic to PPD.1 Another study found that PPD was the tenth-most-common allergic reaction in standard patch tests, producing allergic reactions in 5.0% of people tested.2
A third study found that African-Americans were more likely to suffer an allergic reaction than Caucasians. That study conducted a patch test on 877 white people and 114 black people in Cleveland. While 4.5% of the white people had an allergic reaction to PPD, 10.6% of black people had one.3
The high rates of an allergic reaction led the American Contact Dermatitis Society to name PPD the Allergen of the Year in 2006.4
While most allergic reactions to PPD are minor and limited to a painful rash, some of them are quite severe. Allergic reactions caused by PPD in Just for Men beard products are especially problematic. In some cases, victims have experienced significant facial swelling that required a visit to the emergency room. Others have had medical emergencies when their throat got swollen from their PPD reaction and threatened to shut.
2.1 Possible change in chemical composition of Just for Men
Just for Men hair and beard dyes have been on the market since 1987. However, widespread complaints about allergic reactions have only surfaced recently, with some complaints coming from people who have used Just for Men regularly for years.5 The timing of the complaints raises the possibility that the chemical composition in Just for Men was altered.
However, representatives for Combe Incorporated have said that the chemical composition of Just for Men has not changed in seven years. Instead, they claimed that the allergic reactions suffered by longtime users happened because of their changing body chemistry.6
3. Lawsuits over allergic reactions to Just for Men
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Combe Incorporated over the injuries caused by allergic reactions to Just for Men.
These lawsuits claim that Combe Incorporated should be held accountable for these injuries because they failed to warn people about the dangers of an allergic reaction to Just for Men. Without such a warning, people who bought Just for Men were powerless to prevent a potentially severe allergic reaction, and could not make an informed decision about what hair dye to use.
Many of the lawsuits also claim that Just for Men is defectively designed for using PPD as its active ingredient. Many other chemicals have been created that achieve the same coloration as PPD and are less allergic. These lawsuits claim that Just for Men's ongoing use of PPD makes it defective because it puts people at unnecessary risk.
Combe Incorporated has claimed that Just for Men's label adequately warns consumers of the potential for an allergic reaction. This label instructs people to put some of the dye on the inside of their elbow 48 hours before each and every application of Just for Men. This “test patch,” according to Combe Incorporated, adequately warns a consumer if they are allergic to Just for Men.
However, facial skin is far more sensitive than the skin on the inside of someone's elbow. People who do not get an allergic reaction from the “test patch” of Just for Men can still get one when they apply it to their face or scalp.
4. Compensation for victims of Just for Men
People who have used Just for Men and suffered severe allergic reactions have filed lawsuits that demand compensation for their losses. This compensation is meant to cover all of the setbacks that a victim has suffered because of an allergic reaction caused by Just for Men. It includes:
- Medical bills from recovering from the allergic reaction,
- Anticipated medical expenses in the future,
- Wages lost while recovering, as well as business opportunities lost,
- Any reduced earning capacity because of the injuries sustained,
- Compensation for the physical pain of the allergic reaction, and
- Compensation for mental and emotional suffering, including for the trauma associated with a disfigurement.
5. What to do if you have had an allergic reaction to Just for Men
If you have used a Just for Men product and suffered an allergic reaction, you should talk to a doctor about the best way to treat the condition. Prescription medication is frequently used to treat the condition.
Once you have treated the allergic reaction, you may want to talk to a lawyer like the mass tort lawyers at the Shouse Law Office. Companies have legal obligations to uphold when they make and sell their products. When they fail to uphold them and people get hurt, the law is designed to ensure the victims are compensated for their losses. Fighting for this compensation is an important way to hold companies accountable for their reckless decisions.
Søsted H, et al., “Contact allergy to common ingredients in hair dyes,” Contact Dermatitis 69(1):32-9 (July 2013).
Rollison DE, Helzlsouer KJ, Pinney SM, “Personal hair dye use and cancer: a systematic literature review and evaluation of exposure assessment in studies published since 1992,” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health: Part B, Critical Reviews. 9(5):413–39 (September-October 2006).
Dickel H, Taylor JS, Evey P, Merk HF, “Comparison of patch test results with a standard series among white and black racial groups,” American Journal of Contact Dermatology 12(2):77-82 (June 2001).
Sharon E. Jacob, “Review: ACDS' Allergen of the Year 2000-2015,” The Dermatologist.
See e.g., Just for Men Reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com.
Daryl Nelson, “'Just For Men' Hair Dye Users Report Allergic Reactions: Sometimes a little gray hair isn't the worst thing that can happen to you,” Consumer Affairs (October 22, 2012).