First it was the blow dryer, then the ceramic hair irons and now it’s the infamous ‘Brazilian blow-outs’ that’s causing hair raising affects around the world.
Keratin treatments and Brazilian express hair straightening processes, dubbed the ‘Brazilian blow-out’ transforms frizzy and untamed hair into sleek, smooth and shiny straight hair for 6 weeks to a few months.
This treatment loved by celebrities Nicole Richie, Jennifer Aniston and Rachel Zoe has come under fire in the U.S after recent studies have shown it is unsafe.
In Oregon, USA, hair stylist, Kimberly Ryley, who used the product daily, said that every one of her 255 clients reported some kind of symptom ranging from bleeding noses, skin irritation and chest pains, too nausea, asthma and insomnia. It has even been linked to cancer.
The Oregon Health & Science University’s Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) has found unsafe levels of formaldehyde in the product.
Formaldehyde, a carcinogen, is the chemical compound that’s at the center of the problem. Better known as an ingredient in embalming fluid or found on construction sites, products have been banned from using this chemical.
Science professor from Stony Brooke University, School of medicine Arthur Grollman said “My concern is that formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen that should never touch your skin or anything else,” Brisbane times quoted him as saying.
CROET researched over 105 straightening treatments used by Kimberly Ryley and found all but three had 10 % more than the regulated amount of 0.2%.
Brazilian Blowout which originated in Brazil six years ago is the most popular form of the treatment throughout the US. The company is currently facing a class action lawsuit from a 200 people (and growing) who say the product has damaged their health.
Although the reason behind the use of formaldehyde in the Brazilian Blowout product is unknown, it could have stemmed from the textile industry that uses the chemical to straighten wool.
The treatment which can take up to 3 hours to complete is expensive ranging from $300 to $1000. First your hair is washed with a special shampoo that opens up the hair cuticles to prepare them for the second process where the straightening solution (which contains formaldehyde) is applied and left on. The last stage is where the problems occur as heat is applied to the lock in the formula. When formaldehyde and heat combine it releases a vapour that can bring in a storm of complaints.So if you’re thinking of using Keratin or other Brazilian blowout products to perfect the straight hair look, make sure you talk to your hairdresser and check the amount of formaldehyde in the solution.