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What’s The Deal With Toxic Chemical Hair Straighteners?

Chemical hair straighteners, also known as relaxers, are hair care products that are used to straighten and relax naturally curly or coily hair. These products have chemicals that break down the hair's structure in order to make it more pliable and easier to straighten.

Chemical hair straighteners, also known as relaxers, are hair care products that are used to straighten and relax naturally curly or coily hair. These products have chemicals that break down the hair's structure in order to make it more pliable and easier to straighten. Some common chemicals in relaxers include sodium hydroxide (lye) and calcium hydroxide (no-lye).

What are the risks associated with using chemical hair straightening products?

The use of chemical hair straighteners can have a number of adverse effects on the hair and scalp, including:

  • Scalp irritation and itching
  • Hair loss
  • Breakage and damage to the hair shaft
  • Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles)
  • Discoloration or darkening of the hair

There have been some concerns that the chemicals used in relaxers may be linked to cancer. A few studies have suggested that the use of relaxers may be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as uterine and ovarian cancer.  


Chemical hair straighteners, specifically those containing formaldehyde, have been linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen and can be found in some hair straightening treatments, such as the Brazilian Blowout. It is important to be aware of the ingredients in any hair treatment products and to avoid those that contain formaldehyde.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a chemical commonly used in hair straightening treatments, such as Brazilian blowouts, as well as in other hair smoothing and straightening products. It is used as a preservative and to help bond the hair fibers, making the hair appear smoother and straighter.

Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen, which means it has been shown to cause cancer in people. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde can cause respiratory issues, such as asthma and bronchitis, and can also lead to skin irritation and allergies.

The use of hair straightening products containing formaldehyde has been linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer and other health issues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings about the dangers of formaldehyde in hair products, and some countries and states have banned the use of formaldehyde in hair treatments.

It is important to be aware of the ingredients in hair products and to avoid those that contain formaldehyde. Additionally, stylists and salons should be well-ventilated, and stylists should wear protective gear when working with hair products that contain formaldehyde.

Does formaldehyde lead to the development of uterine cancer?  

There is evidence to suggest that long-term exposure to formaldehyde, a chemical commonly found in hair straightening treatments, may increase the risk of developing uterine cancer. Studies have found that women who regularly use hair straightening products containing formaldehyde have a higher risk of developing the disease.

One study of Brazilian women, for example, found that those who regularly used hair straightening products containing formaldehyde had a higher risk of developing uterine cancer compared to those who did not use these products. Similarly, a study of stylists in the United States found that those who regularly used hair straightening products containing formaldehyde had a higher risk of developing uterine cancer compared to those who did not use these products.

It is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the link between chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer, and more studies are needed to confirm these findings. However, the available evidence suggests that there may be a link between the two and it is important for individuals to be aware of the risks when using hair straightening products containing formaldehyde.

It is also recommended that individuals should look for products that are free from formaldehyde and should look for alternatives like keratin hair straightening or natural hair straightening methods like using a flat iron with a heat protectant. Also, salons should ensure that they are well-ventilated, and stylists should wear protective gear when working with hair products that contain formaldehyde.

What brands of chemical hair straighteners have been linked to uterine cancer?

There are several hair straightening treatments that have been linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer, specifically those containing formaldehyde. Some of the chemical hair straightener brands that have been found to contain formaldehyde and have been linked to an increased risk of uterine cancer are:

  • Brazilian Blowout
  • Keratin Complex
  • Marcia Teixeira
  • Global Keratin
  • Cadiveu
  • Marcia Teixeira
  • Coppola Keratin Complex
  • Lacio Lacio

It is important to note that not all the products of the above brands have formaldehyde, and it's crucial to read the ingredients list of the product before purchasing it. Additionally, some of the above-mentioned brands may have reformulated their products to be free from formaldehyde after the FDA warning.

It is important to be aware of the ingredients in any hair treatment products and to avoid those that contain formaldehyde. It's also recommended to consult with a professional hair stylist to get the best hair treatment that suits your hair type and is safe for you.


If you or a loved one were affected by toxic hair products, you are not alone. To see if you qualify for financial compensation, fill out our claim review form and get in touch with a member of our team.

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