Defendants Just For Men® hair care products and dyes are sold at hundreds of local and national retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS. Just for Men pitchmen like Keith Hernandez argue “Go from Grey to Great” but some are finding an unpleasant catch to the inexpensive hair and beard dye. Specifically, customers are complaining of painful reactions after using the product to clean up their patches of grey.
Just for Men’s manufacturer, Combe Incorporated, hasn’t issued a recall of their hair dye products and most negative reactions to the products are usually temporary. But for many middle-aged men hoping to hold onto that youthful look a little longer, Just for Men’s potential for skin irritation and other issues may do more to harm than help.
Consumer Complaints Old and New
The issue with Just for Men’s chemical hair dyes seemingly lies in one of its active ingredients, p-Phenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is a common organic compound found in hair dye that can cause allergic reactions in less than 5% of the general population. In most cases, men allergic to PPD develop minor face rashes, swelling, or burning sensations. While not considered a major health risk, PPD is considered one of the most prevalent chemical allergens in the world. On-the-box directions even instruct users to do a 48-hour skin allergy test before using Just for Men to prevent adverse reactions.
However, there’s a pretty major wrinkle. It seems that men who have used Just for Men products without issue for years are now beginning to experience even more troubling reactions. A quick scan of over 400 customer reviews shows a disturbing pattern among longtime Just for Men users. This includes more severe swelling, itching or burning as well as facial blisters/weeping sores, chemical burns, and throat swelling that can affect breathing or swallowing. In some instances, individuals who use Just for Men have needed emergency room treatment and even developed permanent facial disfigurement.
Even with increasing widespread complaints after use, Combe Incorporated strongly denies altering the existing Just for Men formula. Some have speculated that these reactions may result from an unknown change in body chemistry among consumers. Men who experience adverse reactions to Just for Men products are often advised to switch to Henna-based dye products that do not contain PPD. Interestingly, a 2001 study found that African American users of products containing PPD were far more likely to exhibit an allergic reaction than men.
Class Action Suit Against Just for Men
In the wake of these troubling new side effects, some men are suing Combe Incorporated. Allegations in the complaints vary from accusations that Combe altered the formula without warning the public of potential new risks to more general claims of design and manufacturing negligence.
In a 2016 class action complaint filed in Missouri district court, a man alleged that Combe deliberately misled the public about the safety of their Just for Men products. This suit even argues that PPD has a known link to life-changing medical conditions such as kidney failure, severe dermatitis, and convulsions.
The core of the claim is that even when used exactly as directed, the product’s package insert did not warn doctors and patients of the risks associated with this product that include burns, scarring, allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock, skin depigmentation, and other severe injuries.
Combe Incorporated is far from the first men’s beauty product company to find itself in this kind of hot water.
- Old Spice deodorant manufacturer Procter & Gamble was hit with a $25 million class-action lawsuit over claims that many of their products cause severe armpit rashes.
- Many firms are looking to hear from men who take Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, as it may increase the risk of skin cancer (specifically Melanoma) in older men.
- In 2013, A Pennsylvania high schooler was even hospitalized after developing a severe allergic reaction to AXE body spray. The notorious aerosol fragrance spray is manufactured by Unilever.
Relevant Verdicts and Settlements
The recent trend of aggressive reactions to Just for Men means that we may be years away from seeing the almost inevitable verdicts or settlements that will arise. We’ve included two cases below that show off the kind of recovery that can result when a company deceives its customers about allergy or ingredient risks.
New York, 2017: $1 million verdict.
A young man sued Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson, alleging their anti-psychotic medication Risperidone caused him to develop breasts and lactate from gynecomastia. The suit alleges that the plaintiff required multiple surgeries to correct the condition. He claimed that the defendants were negligent in the design of the drug and they failed to sufficiently warn users of its risks. The defense maintained that the plaintiff’s gynecomastia was due to his obesity as well as other unrelated factors such as marijuana use. The jury awarded a $1 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff against the corporate defendants.
Washington State, 2017: $33,308 verdict.
A couple sued a restaurant after their child was served a meal containing egg products. The suit alleges that the couple explained to their server that their young daughter has a severe egg allergy and requested an order of hamburger sliders without the buns. The server assured the plaintiffs that the buns did not contain eggs, enabling a serious allergic reaction in the child that required an emergency hospital visit. The plaintiffs claim that their daughter is now at greater risk of a life-threatening reaction to egg products and is required to carry an epi-pen at all times. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, who were awarded over $33,000 in combined damages.
At Miller & Zois, we believe corporations owe it to their customers to deliver a safe product. If you have had any problems with Just for Men or any hair dye product, contact our lawyers at 800-553-8082 or send us an online request for a free consultation.