Hairstylists react to proposed ban on hair straighteners that use formaldehyde

The topic of relaxers has become the topic of discussion at the Designer Beauty Clinic in north Charlotte.

These conversations come after the United States Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on formaldehyde in hair straighteners.

“What I’m seeing is a lot of dry hair, brittleness, some scalp scarring, and just some residual issues from scalp damage caused by chemicals,” said hairstylist Roshica Paysour.

Paysour has been a cosmetologist for over a decade, and she has had clients come to her to repair hair damage caused by chemical overprocessing.

“I’m actually really glad that the FDA is looking at this and taking it seriously because it is affecting certain ethnic groups more than others,” Paysour explained.

That group is made up of black women, who often use chemical and heating tool treatments to smooth or straighten their hair. However, the FDA said it has found a link between those chemical straighteners and certain cancers.

A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that women who use relaxers are twice as likely to develop uterine and ovarian cancers.

ALSO READ: FDA to consider banning formaldehyde in hair straightening products claiming cancer link

“What I found and what the professionals around me have found is that it’s more of the over-the-counter products that are given the health issues. And there’s a huge distinction between what licensed professionals are using and what is available over-the-counter,” Paysour said.

Hairstyles Yolanda Sanders said about 5% of her clients have relaxed hair. However, even with that small percentage, she still double-checks the product label to avoid using harmful chemicals.

“We talk about treatments, and we talk about consistency. We talk about routine. I only use professional-grade products. And we stretch their relaxers out so they’re not overprocessed and damaged,” Sanders said.

Sanders said there was one message she wanted to share with women.

“I want them to know that you need to go to a professional and not read the manufacturer’s directions. Use a timer, not overprocess, and not let that chemical seep into the bloodstream through the hair follicle,” Sanders elaborated.

The FDA is set to make a decision on the proposed ban in July.

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