Hair bleach poisoning

Alternative names 
Hydrogen peroxide overdose

Poisoning from an overdose of hydrogen peroxide.

Poisonous Ingredient

Hydrogen peroxide

Where Found

  • Hydrogen peroxide  
  • Hair bleach  
  • Some contact lens disinfectants

Note: Household hydrogen peroxide has a 3% concentration; hair bleaches usually have a concentration of greater than 6%.


  • Body pain  
  • Burns in the oral cavity and throat  
  • Temporary white appearance to exposed skin  
  • Abdominal discomfort and cramping  
  • Vomiting

Home Treatment
DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. For eye exposure, flush with water for 15 minutes. Contact your local poison control center.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • The patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • When it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number
If hydrogen peroxide has been swallowed, seek medical care immediately at your nearest emergency room, or call poison control. Take any containers with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Inserting a gastric tube to prevent pressure build-up  
  • Treating the symptoms

Expectations (prognosis)
Full recovery is common after minor exposure, but serious complications from gastrointestinal burns or gas build-up can occur.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.