How a Hair Treatment for Women Led to a Nightmare of Kidney Injury

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File Image.: She the People

Forget split ends; the latest beauty nightmare packs a punch! A quest for silky-smooth tresses took a hazardous turn for a 26-year-old who simply wanted straight hair but ended up facing severe health complications. This story highlights the importance of being cautious about hair straightening products, which, as medical studies and this case demonstrate, can pose serious risks to health.

Dubbed “Straightening Woes: Hair Treatment Leaves Woman with Bent Kidneys,” this tale revolves around a 26-year-old woman who, despite having no prior health issues, developed kidney damage after undergoing hair straightening treatment at a salon in 2020. The case, detailed by medical researchers in The New England Journal of Medicine, sheds light on the unforeseen consequences of seemingly harmless beauty procedures.

Following three salon visits for hair straightening in June 2020, April 2021, and July 2022, the woman, initially healthy, experienced a series of alarming symptoms after each session. These included nausea, diarrhea, fever, and lower back pain. However, it wasn’t until she developed ulcers on her scalp and noticed blood in her urine without any signs of urinary tract infections that she sought medical attention.

Doctors, intrigued by her condition, conducted a thorough investigation and identified the hair straightening product itself as the culprit. The high concentration of glyoxylic acid in the product had infiltrated the woman’s system through her scalp, wreaking havoc on her kidneys and causing a range of adverse effects.

To understand the effects of glyoxylic acid on kidney damage, researchers conducted experiments on mice, applying the straightening solution to one group while using petroleum jelly on another as a control. The results revealed urine crystals similar to those found in individuals exposed to ethylene glycol, a toxic chemical present in common household products like antifreeze. Moreover, mice exposed to the hair treatment displayed elevated levels of creatinine in their blood, mirroring the woman’s condition.

Interestingly, despite experiencing kidney damage after each salon visit, the woman’s kidneys showed signs of recovery shortly thereafter. This suggests that the effects of glyoxylic acid on the hair treatment product may be short-lived in some cases.

While glyoxylic acid is considered a safer alternative to formaldehyde in hair treatment products, a study conducted on 26 individuals from Israel with kidney injuries revealed that most participants had used products containing derivatives of glycolic acid, which the liver breaks down into glyoxylic acid. This underscores the importance of further research and regulation in the beauty industry to ensure consumer safety.

In conclusion, this cautionary tale serves as a reminder that beauty should never come at the expense of health. Vigilance is key when it comes to choosing and using hair treatment products, as even seemingly innocuous procedures can have potentially harmful consequences.

Repurposed article originally published in She the People

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Fly High Women: Feminism, Innovation, and Inspiration in Action And how you too can fly high! Buy One, Gift One