Is Formaldehyde Alone Responsible for Making Hair Straightening Dangerous?

Almost every woman wants straight, shiny hair. Today, fashion-conscious women spend hours at the salon getting their hair chemically treated. The obvious outcome they are aiming for is a glamorous look. But it can lead to cancer because of the harsh chemicals used.

Research and the news suggest that hair straightening can cause cancer. According to Drugwatch, an NIH study in 2022 offered initial epidemiological evidence for this claim. The study stated that there is a link between chemical hair treatments and uterine cancer. Women who opt for hair straightening over four times annually are at a higher risk of cancer.

The harmful chemicals present in hair straighteners lead to health hazards. Many studies have held the chemical formaldehyde as the major culprit. Could other chemicals be adding to the risk as well? You can read this article to learn more.  

How Formaldehyde Affects Women’s Health?

In April 2024, Live Science reported on the FDA’s intention to ban formaldehyde in hair smoothening and straightening products. This was a response to monitoring the growing concerns about the chemical’s detrimental side effects on human health. The ban will also include chemicals that release formaldehyde when heated.

As a result, several women have filed a hair relaxer lawsuit to report their health issues after chemical hair treatments. This litigation aims to hold the negligent manufacturers responsible for the damages caused.

Christopher Bunick, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, shared his view on this. He said that he applauds the FDA for attempting to ban this chemical from personal care products. It will go a long way in saving women from its potential side effects.

The chemical formaldehyde is also known as methylene glycol and formalin in their liquid forms. It is called a human carcinogen, and it’s linked with multiple cancers, such as leukemia. This chemical might also cause nasopharyngeal cancers that affect the upper section of the throat. It can lead to cancer when inhaled in large amounts and for a long time.

The chemical is a flammable, colorless gas used at room temperature. When present in the air, women might have throat irritation, nose, and watery eyes. They can also experience wheezing, coughing, and skin irritation.

Apart from that, formaldehyde can also lead to breathing issues. For instance, it can cause exacerbations and the onset of asthma in people. Women who are exposed to this chemical because of frequent hair straightening can face miscarriage and fertility problems.

The New York State Department of Health states that more than 150 chemical hair treatment products have formaldehyde in them. However, the labels can be unreliable. Certain products labeled ‘formaldehyde-free’ or ‘organic’ might contain this harsh chemical.

Bunick asserted that personal care and hair styling products should never harm a consumer. Additionally, there should be more clarity on which products are harmless. He also asserted that black women have suffered the most because of chemical hair straightening. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the adverse carcinogens from the products they are likely to use.

Are There Any Other Chemicals Involved?

While formaldehyde takes the meteor chunk of blame for causing cancer, other chemicals also play a part. The three prominent ones to note are:

  • Parabens: It is often used in cosmetics as a preservative. The chemical has an increased capacity to cause endocrine disruption. They can affect your reproductive system and hormones, increasing your cancer risk.
  • Bisphenol A: This chemical interacts with your estrogen receptors, leading to the development of several cancers. Any exposure to heavy metals can lead to cell damage and other fatal changes that increase your cancer risk. The metals include nickel, chromium, arsenic, and cadmium, which are known as group 1 carcinogens.
  • Glyoxylic Acid: Even though this chemical gets marketed as a safe alternative, there are side effects. For instance, the chemical leads to kidney injuries.

Therefore, TorHoerman Law states that if you have faced any health hazard after a chemical hair treatment, seek legal recourse. Several women globally are bringing this issue to the surface by filing a lawsuit. 

You should consult a lawyer and share your experience along with medical reports for them to determine your eligibility to file a complaint. Once you qualify, follow your lawyer’s guidance to win the legal battle and your compensation.

Essential Guidelines for Women

Even though women read about the hazards of chemical hair straightening, they still opt for it. One reason for this is to flaunt silky, smooth, straight hair and enhance their look. Ideally, you should refrain from this. But if you want some treatment done desperately, make sure you consult an expert. 

They will know the amount of hair treatment cream required, which can help minimize the damage. Chances are they will use creams and lotions that don’t have harsh chemicals.

Furthermore, it is best to opt for natural ways to keep yourself healthy. It’s always best to embrace your natural curls and waves and ensure that you have a healthy mane. 

For this, try home remedies like herbal oil massage and consuming herbs like spearmint or rosemary that promote healthy hair growth. Making hair masks using rice water and flaxseeds can also help to straighten your hair naturally. 

To sum up, women love to flaunt straight hair. That explains why most women get their hair chemically straightened. While that looks good, it paves the path for health issues. 

Chemicals like formaldehyde, parabens, bisphenol A, and glyoxylic acid can enter the body through the scalp and cause fatal health hazards, including cancer. Therefore, it is necessary to refrain from harsh chemicals and opt for safer, healthier alternatives.

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