It is safe to say that formaldehyde – used in many keratin treatments – is not good to be around. “In general, every client and stylist [exposed to keratin chemicals] complains of burning eyes, difficulty breathing, and burning sensations,” stylist Kelly Merriman told Cosmopolitan in a recent interview. Customers that have gone through this type of treatments have also complained of throat and mouth ulcers, dizziness, headaches, flu-like symptoms like vomiting, eye damage, loss of taste and smell, and fatigue, according to the Environmental Working Group, EWG. And because exposure is added over time, hair stylists are even more likely to suffer from serious symptoms.
While the chemical is not supposed to touch anything but the actual hair during the procedure, accidental skin contact can cause blisters or rashes on the scalp, face and neck. But that is just in the short term. Formaldehyde is also a known carcinogen, which means it is proven to cause cancer in humans. Higher levels and prolonged exposure pose greater risks. This might explain why hair straightening products containing the chemical are already outlawed in some countries such as Canada, France, and Ireland. This should clearly make the appeal of natural solutions even bigger.