Dr Oz: Cancer From Hair Straightening Treatments
Dr. Oz started his show by sharing that there are new controversies surrounding hair treatments, with some researchers claiming they could even cause cancer. Keratin hair straightening treatments promise smooth, silky straight hair. What you may not known is that most keratin hair straighteners contain formaldehyde, which can cause breathing problems now and cancer later.
Natural hair advocate Nikki Walton, otherwise known as blogger Curly Nikki, shared that people want to know if products that claim to be all-natural really are. She said they’re not, and a lot of the products are dangerous.
Investigative reporter Elisabeth Leamy visited various New York City salons to ask about possible dangers. Most women she talked to denied any concerns with the treatment. Only two of the salons took serious precautions while doing the keratin treatments, like wearing face masks. Over and over again, she heard that the formula the salons were using were formaldehyde-free. But the truth is, related chemicals in keratin products, can turn into formaldehyde when heated. Only two salons that Elisabeth Leamy visited expressed health concerns, but yet both are still doing the keratin treatments, because customers are still demanding them.
Dr Oz: Natural Hair Advocate Nikki Walton
Nikki Walton joined Dr. Oz on the show. Nikki, author of Better Than Good Hair, explained that women are still using the treatment, even though they know the risks, because they get fabulous results. Results include straight, silky, frizz-free hair that lasts for months.
She said the treatments have already been banned in seven countries, so the risks are known. Nikki explained that if you’re in a salon and someone else is getting the keratin treatment, it’s like second-hand smoke because you’re still putting yourself at risk. She said anyone who is present in the salon while a keratin treatment is being done is at risk.
Dr Oz: Hair Straightening Treatment Warnings
Dr. Oz explained that during the summer of 2014, The National Academy of Sciences officially declared that formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen.
Dr. Oz further explained how people can be innocently put at risk. He explained that if you’re in a salon, and the person next to you is getting a keratin hair treatment, just the simple act of opening the bottle releases fumes that are already spreading throughout the salon. As the keratin is applied and then left on the hair for up to an hour, everyone in the salon is coming into contact with the chemicals and fumes.
Once the treatment is applied, next the hair needs to be straightened. Nikki explained that the straightener is set to about 450 degrees, “and unless you’re grilling cheese, you don’t need to have an iron set to 450 degrees.”
Nikki explained that you’re literally burning the treatment into your hair. The chemicals become vaporized and are even more active when they’re heated. Then, the entire salon is bathed in the fumes, and a lot of people are being exposed to the dangerous chemicals.
Dr Oz: Effects Of Hair Salon Treatments
Dr. Oz welcomed two women who used to work at salons, who said they experienced chemical poisoning. One woman named Dawn shared that she experienced headaches, breathing problems, dizziness, rashes, and she also developed chemical sensitivities from being exposed to the formaldehyde. Natalie, another former salon worker, explained that she was exposed more to the harmful chemicals than someone only getting their hair done every few months, but even one treatment can cause health problems. Neither of them have gotten keratin treatments for years.
Dr. Oz then explained that there are some keratin treatments that apparently contain no formaldehyde. Nikki said they’re not actually formaldehyde free, and said three years ago, labs tested and found very high levels of formaldehyde in a popular treatment called the Brazilian blowout. After that, a lot of manufacturers changed their formula attempting to make them formaldehyde free, but formaldehyde goes by many names, and a lot of the chemicals release formaldehyde when treated.
Some of the chemicals you should look for on labels include oxomethane, methylene oxide, methylene glycol, paraform, and formic aldehyde. Those are the ingredients that you should avoid, because all of them are names for or treated as formaldehyde.
Dr Oz: Alternatives To Keratin Hair Treatments
So what if you want straight hair? Nikki Walton suggested grabbing a flat-iron and a heat protectant that costs just $15 at your drugstore. She said the heat protectant will protect your hair during the styling process, and you should also keep your flat iron set to as low of a temperature as possible.
Nikki then explained that hair relaxers are used primarily by women with afro-textured hair. She said that hair relaxers permanently alter the texture of your hair whereas keratin treatments have a semi-permanent effect. She said the more permanent a treatment, the more damage it does, so hair relaxers can actually be more damaging than a keratin treatment.
Nikki said hair relaxers are full of toxic chemicals, and no-lye relaxers contain calcium hydroxide, which is used to treat sewage in water. She said lye relaxers are even worse because they contain sodium hydroxide, which has a pH of 12, which is similar to household ammonia, causing your scalp to burn.
Dr Oz: Warning About Hair Relaxers
Dr. Oz wanted to explain why Nikki is concerned about lye relaxers, and said he was using a more concentrated lye just to make a point. He said to pretend that paint brushes represent hair, and then put on protective gear before adding water to lye and putting the paint brush into the mixture. The color of the liquid changed immediately because the chemicals were actually dissolving the brush. Nikki said it’s similar to how the chemicals break down your hair.
Nikki recommended you see a professional if you want to relax your hair and suggested stretching your hair treatments to once every eight weeks. She also suggested not washing your hair prior to treatments, saying you need the oils that built up to protect your strands.
Dr. Oz reached out to the FDA, who said, “It is very important that manufacturers provide adequate directions for use, including an warning statements.” Nikki said she wants people to be more cautious and encourages people to embrace the natural texture of their hair.
Leave a Reply