Published: 01/28/2015 - Updated: 12/29/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Women always want to look beautiful and just like they worry about taking care of their face and body, they also try to have enviable, shiny and silky hair. And now, super straight hair is popular.
The problem is when one subjects herself to informal treatments to achieve it, without knowing that later on, this could cause problems as serious as the dreaded cancer.
However, information also suggests that one may even run the same risks when going to trustworthy beauty salons as well.
Be careful with the components
That’s why, before chemically straightening your hair, inform yourself about which products are beings used to straighten your hair, and in such little time, tame those rebellious curls.
If you notice that formalin or formaldehyde is in the ingredients list in any of these products, it’s best not to choose that product.
This chemical is so potent and harmful that not only can in create serious illnesses, like cancer, over time, but even just one application can create allergies, headaches, itching, and more.
You need to know that formaldehyde is a compound that can expand in the environment because it is volatile. It easily converts to a gas or vapor, and exposure to high concentrations of this element could cause severe respiratory problems, and even death, if the concentration is higher that 30 ppm or mg per liter.
You should fear formalin , depending on its concentration and exposure time. It is definitely clear that, even though up to today there has still not been any direct cause-effect link made between it and cancer cases studies by specialists, the World Health Organization (WHO) agrees that its usage should be regulated.
For this institution, even though there are not tests, there are signs that show that animals exposed several times to high formalin concentrations exceeding 6ppm in the air breathed, developed cancer. When the WHO learned of this, they declared this evidence as sufficient to consider formaldehyde a carcinogenic substance.
How does it work on hair?
When formalin comes into contact with hair and skin, it changes the sulfur bridges that are located in microfibers and which are in charge of giving hair its natural shape.
According to what is understood, it creates a certain type of “aesthetic surgery” on the hair, to straighten it.
However, if the conditions illustrated above take place, and the formalin concentration is exceeded and one has been exposed to this several times, this practice could cause cancer of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes.
How to detect it
If a product exceeds formalin levels, which is to say, 0.2%, this can be detected as an itching in the nose, burning in the eyes, throat and skin, and it could even cause allergic reactions similar to those of asthma.
Remember that in order for a product to be fit for humans, formalin must be completely unnoticed, which means that it is present in less than 0.2%.
Generally these informal products don’t respect healthy formalin levels. They are easily sold in South America. Europe currently has products containing formaldehyde concentrations strictly controlled.
According to the European directive 76/768/EEC, cosmetic products with less than 0.2% formalin composition, are not considered dangerous for health. Anything above this amount is completely prohibited.
The danger of using products to straighten hair with high formalin concentrations is even more relevant for stylists, who are exposed to its toxicity more often, depending on the amount of clientele they have. This is because, as said earlier, formalin can be released into the environment as a gas.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/29/2017
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