Getting Sick a High Price To Pay for Straight Hair

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Posted by peter88 from the Beauty category at 20 Jul 2011 10:43:31 pm.
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Women have long gone to great lengths to change the texture of their hair. Those with straight hair will curl and perm to achieve wavy locks, while individuals with a mane of curls often desire sleekness not easily achieved without blow-drying and processing. Women who have been undergoing popular treatments to enjoy straight, sleek hair may be realizing some serious, unwanted side effects as a result.

For some time now, women have been flocking to area salons to undergo straightening treatments that promise long-lasting results in minimal time. One of the more popular names is the Brazilian Blowout(R), a professional smoothing solution, purported to have been developed by style specialists in Brazil. Treatments like the blowout made headlines for a time thanks to the dramatic results they provided for women with curly, kinky or overly frizzy hair. In about 90 minutes, a customer can walk out of a salon with pristine straight hair that lasts up to 3 months. However, recent news regarding these products has been less than stellar. Certain individuals began experiencing negative health effects, possibly attributable to the salon processes.

The controversy surrounds the formaldehyde that is contained in the product. While reformulations now tout that these straightening treatments are formaldehyde-free, experts say that they really do contain formaldehyde, just small, safe levels. But what constitutes safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that .2 percent of formaldehyde is allowed in toiletry and cosmetic products as a preservative. The Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Administration has tested Brazilian Blowout(R) and other similar products, like Keratin Complex(R) by U.S. brand Coppola, and has found that some contain up to 10 percent of formaldehyde, despite saying they're free of the chemical.

How the hair-straightening properties of formaldehyde were discovered is relatively unknown. Some suggest it is from the way wool is straightened with formaldehyde in the textile industry. Until then, formaldehyde was largely known as a preservative, such as in embalming fluid. Formaldehyde and other derivatives, such as aldehyde, glutaraldehyde, formalin or methylene glycol can be skin, respiratory and eye irritants. When these chemicals are heated --as is part of the process in popular blowout treatments -- toxic fumes are often the byproduct.

Stylists have reported getting headaches, having watery eyes, trouble breathing, or feeling nauseous after applying treatments. Clients have experienced everything from burning to itchy skin to hair loss as a result.

Litigation against popular blowout products is ongoing in certain locales. In turn, the manufacturers of these treatments are also suing for misrepresentation. While there are limited self-imposed bans of some of these products, blowouts are still widely available at salons. It is up to the client and the stylist to decide whether they want to run the risks of the treatment.
For those who are looking for straight hair other ways, flat irons and regular blow-drying are less expensive ways to achieve the results. However, these more traditional treatments only last until the hair is washed or a humid day arises.
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