What the Studies Reveal about Chemical Hair Straightening
Embrace the Curl was born to encourage people to love their natural hair. Many look for chemical hair straighteners out of frustration to make their natural hair work for their routine and desired look. ConsumerNotice.org recently published an article about the Chemical Hair Straightening Dangers and it's worse than what we thought.
Side Effects of Using Chemical Hair Straighteners
Using chemical hair straighteners can lead to various side effects, both immediate and long-term. Some of the less severe long-term effects include hair loss and damage to the hair shaft. However, there are more serious and permanent side effects associated with hair straightening treatments. Research has shown that the toxic chemicals present in these products are unsafe and have been linked to certain types of cancer and other significant illnesses.
Common side effects of chemical hair straighteners and relaxers include hair damage and skin irritation. Many of these products contain ingredients that pose serious risks to human health. Examples of widely used but potentially harmful compounds found in chemical hair straightening products are lye (sodium hydroxide), formaldehyde, cyclosiloxanes, parabens, diethanolamine, phthalates, benzophenone-3, and triclosan. Parabens, for instance, have been classified as endocrine disruptors and possible endocrine disruptors by the U.N. Environment Programme.
These harmful compounds have been associated with several side effects, such as adverse developmental effects in babies, children, embryos, and fetuses, allergic sensitization, respiratory complications including asthma attacks, burns to the eyes, lungs, nose, and skin, endometriosis, temporary hair loss, impaired fertility or infertility, impaired immune and nervous system functions, an increased risk of certain cancers (including breast, skin, and uterine cancer), skin conditions and rashes, vision impairment and loss, and more. Formaldehyde, classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, has been linked to cancer of the nasopharynx, leukemia, and sinonasal cancer.
Not only do these side effects impact consumers who regularly use these products, but they also pose risks to salon staff who are exposed to these ingredients on a daily basis.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in 2022 revealed that women who used chemical straightening products had a higher risk of uterine cancer compared to those who did not use them. The study also found an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers among women who used hair straighteners regularly. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings before definitive medical recommendations can be made. Individuals who have experienced serious side effects, such as uterine cancer, after using hair relaxers have started to file lawsuits seeking compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Considering the risks involved, it is important to question the safety of chemical hair straightening. Both consumers and hair stylists who use or work with these treatments are at risk of exposure to formaldehyde, a known asthma-causing and cancer-causing substance. Parabens, another chemical found in hair straighteners, have been linked to reproductive issues. Claims of formaldehyde-free products are often misleading, as these products may contain other chemicals that release formaldehyde when exposed to the high heat necessary for straightening treatments.
While further studies are required, government authorities at the federal and state levels have expressed concerns about the potential adverse impacts of the chemicals found in hair straightening products. Multiple studies have established a connection between these products and cancer as well as other significant health problems. Visit consumernotice.org directly for more information or the links below:
To minimize the side effects of hair straightening, alternative methods can be explored. While the effectiveness of non-chemical methods may vary, they are generally considered safe. Embrace the Curl was born to encourage people to love their natural hair. Many look for chemical hair straighteners out of frustration to make their natural hair work for their routine and desired look. We provide a variety of specialized products that will allow you to wear your hair natural. Our products are made with organic, natural ingredients that will provide moisture, definition and hold to the curls.
If you are already embracing your natural curls, we thank you for committing to the health of your hair and overall health!
If you need some guidance on embracing your natural curls please contact us.