Real Stories: How Hair Treatments Create Chemical Sensitivity

Real Stories: How Hair Treatments Create Chemical Sensitivity

There have been hundreds of cases of allergic reactions or chemical sensitivity caused by synthetic ingredients used in various hair treatments. Most of the hair treatments we get at salons contain toxic chemicals which can create severe allergic reactions in the body.

Formaldehyde is undisputedly the most commonly known toxin used in mainstream hair smoothing treatments. Considering the potentially harsh effects of formaldehyde on health, we take pride in the fact that our ANSWR at-home keratin treatment is free from this seedy chemical and we want to raise awareness to the fact that you have little or no control over the chemicals you are exposed at the salons.

In today’s post, we’ll have a peek at some of the cases of chemical sensitivity caused by formaldehyde in hair treatments and its course of occurrence. The purpose of this article is for you to know what you’re putting your body through and what can be the possible consequences.


What is Chemical Sensitivity?

When our body makes contact with a foreign substance, such as a toxin or an allergen, our immune system is triggered. The immune system works to protect the body against harmful external agents, but its overreaction to a chemical or a toxin can lead to chemical sensitivity or intolerance.

The look and feel of chemical sensitivity may vary among individuals, depending on the severity of the reaction and the body parts involved. It may occur in a small area, such as itchy eyes, localised skin rash, runny nose, and swollen skin, or it can be all over the body. Under worst circumstances, it can affect the oranges, especially if the toxin enters the bloodstream. In rare cases, severe chemical sensitivity can even be life-threatening.

Dawn’s Story of Formaldehyde Poisoning 

Dawn Marino has been working as a hair stylist at a salon in New York for two years now. It was during her part-time job at a salon while she was studying at a cosmetology school when she first heard about the Brazilian Blowout treatment. She joined a new salon after graduating, where she was performing Brazilian Blowout on clients frequently. Months later, noticed that whenever she or her coworkers were doing a Brazilian Blowout on a client, she would start feeling dizzy and nauseous. Other symptoms included burning or watering eyes, throat irritation, rashes, and difficulty breathing.

Initially, many physicians thought of it as a persistent sinus infection and would prescribe her antibiotics. But nothing accounted for her constant nausea that was making her daily life miserable. Finally, a doctor diagnosed her with formaldehyde poisoning. By the time, she also had developed asthma due to regular inhaling of formaldehyde fumes.

Her doctor warned her to stay away from formaldehyde as being around it would only make her condition worse. Upon discussing with her coworkers, she came to know that they were also experiencing similar symptoms. She had to quit her job and hunt for a new one because the salon owner refused to discontinue Brazilian Blowout treatment at her salon.

She still suffers from health problems due to chemical sensitivity and gets allergies she never had before. She is now working on spreading awareness regarding this nasty chemical used in many hair and nail treatments around the globe.

Jessica Misener’s Hair Fall after Keratin Treatment 

Jessica Misener is a senior style editor at the Huffington Post. Jessica’s ordeal began when she received an email at work, offering her a free keratin treatment, also known as Brazilian Blowout. It was usual for her to receive such emails from advertisers for the promotion of their products and services. She was well aware of the ingredients and procedure involved in the popular Brazilian Blowout. Jessica also knew the potential risks that could accompany the application of formaldehyde to the hair.

Since she had frizzy, dry hair, she felt intrigued by the promise of silky, pin-straight hair and decided to go for the treatment. She got an appointment booked for the next week and headed to the salon in high spirits. Though the salon claimed to provide formaldehyde-free keratin treatment, she was asked to put on a surgical mask which seemed suspicious to her. Later on, she came to know that some treatments consist of chemicals that turn into formaldehyde when heated.

Coming back to Jessica’s nightmare, the stylist started to spray the chemical solution onto her locks, and then started straightening them with a flat iron. The pungent smell and fumes made her nose and eyes irritated and watery. The process was completed in around 45 minutes, and she left the salon satisfied and cheerful with her newly done sleek and glossy hair.

A week later, her hair started looking sticky and gummy, like they were coated in glue. Her hair wouldn’t feel clean even after washing it with a shampoo. The real horror rose when her hair began to fall out. It started with a few strands and ended up with chunks of her hair coming out when she ran her finger through it. She was so devastated that she began taking supplements to stop hair fall and started looking for wig stores, in case she went bald.

Then she finally decided to visit a dermatologist, who assured her that hair fall was common after a keratin treatment. According to her dermatologist, any stressful event, whether physical or emotional, can lead to hair fall.

Keratin treatment traumatizes hair follicles and thus results in hair fall. Jessica was relieved to know that the damage wasn’t permanent. She started noticing baby hair after a year as her hair started growing back.

Jennifer Arce’s Story of Chemical Intolerance 

Jennifer is a California-based hair stylist from around 20 years. She had a horrible experience with Brazilian Blowout in 2010 when she tested it on her hair before doing on a client for the very first time. After having her Brazilian Blowout treatment, she continued to suffer from adverse effects caused by formaldehyde used in the product.

She got sick from her first exposure to the treatment, and her doctor ascribed her symptoms to chemical poisoning. She had trouble performing her daily chores because of the damage caused to her lungs.

Working in an environment filled with chemical hair treatments made things even worse. Her coworkers also started noticing that the new hair smoothing product, Brazilian Blowout, introduced at the salon was making them sick too. They all began exhibiting symptoms of chemical hypersensitivity, such as sore throat, sinus infections, and migraines.

Jennifer and some of her coworkers then moved to another salon that was willing to curb the use of all hair smoothing products after receiving the research evidence from them. But the problem still remained as many clients who have had their Brazilian Blowout treatment done elsewhere came in for color treatment, haircut, and hair-styling.

Every time formaldehyde-treated hair was heated, the fumes made Jennifer and her colleagues sick all over again. Jennifer’s symptoms intensified due to frequent exposure to formaldehyde. She started having nose bleeds, inflamed rashes, bronchitis, and chocking on phlegm in her sleep. It was after their condition kept getting worse when Jennifer and her coworkers decided to do something to put an end to it and save others from this torment.

They started writing letters to FDA and Congresswoman Rep. Jan Schakowsky who was working on the Safe Cosmetic Act. Jennifer was interviewed on a local TV station as well and received calls from salon workers from across the country who were also facing the same symptoms.

She is still working to raise awareness and help authorities put an end to hair smoothing products containing formaldehyde.

A Word from ANSWR

It may be hard to find an in-salon hair smoothing treatment that doesn’t contain formaldehyde. Luckily many brands are now introducing formaldehyde-free hair treatments.

ANSWR is one of those brands dedicated to providing healthier alternatives to chemical-laden hair treatments.

The mission is to fight against harsh and unhealthy chemicals often included in salon products by providing healthy alternatives which will deliver the same results without compromising your health and in the comfort of your own home.

The keratin treatment included in the ANSWR Kit is not only formaldehyde-free but also 100% sulfate-free, paraben-free, vegan and cruelty-free.

We aim to protect our users from the adversities of toxic chemicals taking over the beauty industry. Moreover, ANSWR's smoothing spray is filled with the nourishing Brazilian plant-based ingredients, which nourish your hair and scalp, as well as maximise and prolong the effect of the treatment.

So, the choice is yours. Would you still take the risk of putting your body through a treatment filled with carcinogenic element or go for the safer option?

Shop our super natural and nourishing smoothing treatment below – you will have amazingly smooth hair for up to three months and don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals  

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