A product used by hairdressers in a hair straightening technique known as the Brazilian Blow Dry has been recalled by Trading Standards in the UK due to excessive levels of chemicals being found in some formulations.
A report in Welsh local paper the Daily News
, states that the European Commission has issued product safety warnings over the Brazilian Blow Out brand's professional original smoothing solution.
The one litre, brown-bottle product was found to contain 35 times the permitted limit of the hair smoothing agent methylene glycol. In addition to the possible immediate effects, including hair loss,
this ingredient can form the cancer-causing gas, formaldehyde.
The same brand was the subject of a 2010 lawsuit
in America after products were found to contain 60 times the recommended amount.
Chemical trauma hair loss
When the scalp is over-exposed to harsh chemicals, especially when the dosage far exceeds the recommended limit, there is a risk of something called Chemical Trauma
, developing. This can be caused by regular home-use kits for bleaching, perming or relaxing the hair, as well as salon solutions, which is why it is incredibly important to carry out a small patch test
at least 24-48 hours prior to use, to check for any reactions.
It involves the scalp and hair follicles becoming badly damaged by chemical burns but not to the point where permanent scarring occurs. In these instances hair loss is to be expected but, once the scalp has healed, treatment to help regrow the hair is generally possible as the follicles - though weak - still function. A hair loss specialist should be able to tailor an appropriate treatment course based on the level and pattern of shedding as well as the individual's medical profile, following a scalp assessment.
Where the burns are severe enough to cause scarring, the hair loss is un-treatable due to the follicles having been destroyed. This condition is known as Cicatricial Alopecia
and, where this is diagnosed as a result of chemical burns, the areas of baldness are permanent.
Damaged hair after a Brazilian Blow Dry
There have been numerous reports of damaged hair following the keratin-based Brazilian blow dry
treatments, from readers of the Belgravia Centre blog writing in with their hair loss queries after having the treatment, to celebrities including Jennifer Lopez
The process involves applying various solutions to freshly washed hair, blow drying it using a hairdryer and straightening the dry hair with a flat iron
in order to seal in the treatments which claim to straighten the hair for up to 12 weeks.
So much heat, in addition to chemicals, isn't great for the hair and, particularly if the hair is already coloured, damaged or if there is any hair thinning, can result in breakage
. This is where weakened hair snaps off along the shaft, giving the hair a thin, dull and frazzled
Whilst a good haircut can usually resolve this - dusting the ends can be used in order to keep the length, though it depends on the extent of the damage - along with intensive strengthening and nourishing conditioning treatments, it is wise to avoid problematic heat-styling practices while the hair recovers. Where the hair is damaged along the strands a hairdresser should be able to advise on the best route to recovery, however, if there is significant damage and/or hair fall from the scalp, it is best to consult a hair loss professional.
For those who want to have a Brazilian blow dry, or any other kind of chemical hair treatment, we advise researching salons with fully certified employees first. Then, go in and have a consultation and patch test with a number of different salons, ensuring you leave a few days (no less than three) between them, so that if there is a reaction to any patch test, it's clear which test caused it.