How Formaldehyde Risks Your Health

Formaldehyde risks

While most of us realize that what we feed our bodies is directly effecting our health, we often tend to ignore the fact that what we put our skin through can have just as profound effect on our health. The debate about the safety of chemicals used in manufacturing beauty and skin care products has taken the industry by storm lately. People have been increasingly becoming more conscious about what they’re exposing their skin to. But in a world where endless new products with hard-to-pronounce ingredients are introduced in the market every other day, it can be challenging to stay up-to-date with what’s safe and useful. The key to ensuring the safety of the products is to know what’s underneath the lid. There are a handful of synthetic ingredients proven to be toxic to health. Formaldehyde is one of these controversial compounds used in many skin and hair care products. In this post, we’ll discuss about formaldehyde risks and the reasons to be careful while choosing a product containing this infamous chemical.

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde, also known as formalin, morbicid acid, methylene oxide, methylaldehyde, and methylene glycol, is a colorless, strong-smelling, and flammable gas. Formaldehyde is identified as a human carcinogen by The International Agency of Research on Cancer. The main ways people are exposed to it in the environment are by inhaling in gas form and by absorbing in liquid form through the skin. It can be used directly in personal care products or released from preservatives such as DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, bromopol, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, and glyoxal. It is needless to say that formaldehyde poses risks to our health.

Products Containing Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) are widely used in most personal care, household, and industrial products available on the market. These chemicals are used as preservatives in water-based products to keep them from spoiling and to prevent microbial growth. These products will hardly last a few weeks or months without a preservative.

Some of the skin and hair care products that contain formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are: hair straightening treatments, keratin treatments, nail polish and nail polish remover, shampoos and conditioners, cream cleansers, eyelash glue, hair gel, shower gels, deodorants.

Formaldehyde in Hair Smoothing Treatments

To make the outcome of the treatment last as long as possible, most of the salons use smoothing and keratin treatments that contain a heavy amount of formaldehyde. The misconception consumers often have is that keratin treatments are a natural option for smoothening the hair compared to many other permanent straightening treatments on the market. For many the harsh reality is revealed when they sit into the hairdresser’s chair and their eyes start burning and tearing and breathing becomes difficult, as a result of the strong formaldehyde released into the air.

For us at O’wow health comes first. First and foremost we want to educate and bring awareness to the fact that traditional smoothing and keratin treatments are extremely toxic and  formaldehyde-rich, which has severe consequences for human health. Our 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.

Acknowledging all the side-effects of formaldehyde included in most of the smoothing treatments on the market we were extremely motivate to create a non-toxic and formaldehyde free alternative to replace the health-risky and irritating smoothing treatments.  As a result we have developed the O’wow Smoothing Treatment home kit which is the most effective formaldehyde-free hair smoothing system for fizzy, dry and damaged hair. Lacking any toxic chemicals the treatment has been developed with plenty of natural ingredients found in the Brazilian rainforest. These ingredients offers rich nutrition to the hair and deeply moistures and repairs the hair cuticles. As a result the treatment softens the hair, restores life to lifeless hair, and increases shine for lackluster, dry hair by locking in moisture. After you complete the treatment you will have an insanely smooth and shiny hair for up to three months. To get your own O’wow Kit, click the product picture on the right -> 

Formaldehyde Risks and Side-effects

Formaldehyde and FRPs can be absorbed into the skin and cause serious safety concerns. While immediate short term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde are irritation, eye burning and tearing, the long-term exposure or high levels of this chemical can cause serious threats to health. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives used in beauty care products release small amounts of formaldehyde over time. High temperature have been shown to increase the amount of formaldehyde released, ultimately leading to in an increase in the chance of getting cancer. Following are some of the most commonly seen formaldehyde risks:

Allergic Skin Reactions
Formaldehyde in skin and hair care products is widely known to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes. Although the amount of formaldehyde in everyday personal care products is generally low, it can still trigger a reaction in people sensitive to formaldehyde and FRPs. In some cases, formaldehyde sensitivity may develop over time with repeated exposure. American dermatitis society declared formaldehyde as a contact allergen in 2015.  Another study determined that 11.9% of the population was allergic to patch test of 2.0% formaldehyde. Short term exposure to formaldehyde is also linked to watery eyes, throat irritation, and burning sensation in the nose when inhaled in the gas form released from the product.

Most of the reactions caused by formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are due to formaldehyde being released by them. However, some of the FRPs can stimulate a reaction on their own. Quanternium-15 is known as the most sensitizing chemical of all FRPs. A study of patch test by North American Contact Dermatitis Group revealed that about 22.3% of consumers were allergic to this FRP. The incidence of these allergic reactions increases with prolonged use of Quanternium-15. Glyoxal and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate are also known as skin allergens. Studies have revealed that sodium hydroxymethylglycinate may cause sensitivity and dermatitis. Irritation goes away when the products containing this chemical are discontinued.

Cancer and Liver Toxicity
The presence of carcinogens in skin and hair care products is among a few of the concerns of consumers these days. It might seem difficult to imagine, but some ingredients known to cause cancer are frequently used in these products. What might be even more mind-boggling is the fact that it’s legal to do so. Formaldehyde is one of the known and most widely used carcinogens. Formaldehyde is identified as a human carcinogen by The International Agency of Research on Cancer. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency also acknowledges formaldehyde as a potential carcinogen. It’s also suspected to increase liver toxicity.

Respiratory Problems
Another possible side effect of formaldehyde and FRPs is difficulty in breathing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s a carcinogen that can also cause respiratory issues with frequent or long term exposure. Some studies have associated formaldehyde to bronchitis and pneumonia. If you’re an asthma patient, using products with formaldehyde can make your condition even worse.

People who work with formaldehyde on a regular basis are more vulnerable to severe issues including, respiratory problems, cancer, and liver toxicity. Hair salon workers and nail artists are at greater risk of exposure to copious amounts of formaldehyde and FRPs. These products can accumulate in fatty tissues and potentially lead to serious health problems.

How to Avoid Formaldehyde?

While many brands have stopped using formaldehyde and FRPs due to increasing evidence of health-related risks, there are still some who use these chemicals as a cheap way of preserving their products. Therefore, always read the labels and remember that in most cases, formaldehyde isn’t mentioned in the ingredient list. Check for formaldehyde-releasing preservatives too. If you have to use a product containing formaldehyde, make sure the concentration is low, and you only use it occasionally. Don’t use expired products and don’t store them in high temperature or under the sun as this can cause an increase in the release of formaldehyde. FDA advises limiting exposure to products containing formaldehyde.

Acknowledging the risks of formaldehyde has been one of our key motivators for creating  a 100% formaldehyde-free smoothing treatment, our O’wow smoothing treatment home kit. With the O’wow smoothing treatment everyone can have their hair smoothened easily, affordably and without damaging the health. Our smoothing treatment’s unique formulation is not only effective but also includes a notable amount of natural Botanical ingredients, which will treat your hair in the most gentle way possible. Oh and the best part – you can do it at the comfort of your own home and the results last for up to three months. O’wow smoothing treatment has been tested to be safe and effective, while posing none of the health risks or side effects of the traditional smoothing treatments. Get your own O’wow Kit now and you will thank us later. Or if you are not satisfied with the results you will have our 100% money back guarantee. 

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