Hair treatment horrors: Woman’s salon visits lead to kidney injuries

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Warning issued by medical experts: Hair treatments linked to kidney injuries.

NEW YORK, March 28: Recent reports from medical professionals have raised concerns about potential side effects associated with certain hair treatments, following a case involving a young woman who suffered kidney injuries after visiting a salon.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month, a 26-year-old Tunisian woman experienced three acute kidney injuries between June 2020 and July 2022. French doctors, in a letter to the editor, linked these kidney injuries to specific hair smoothing and straightening products.

The woman, previously in good health, sought medical attention after experiencing symptoms including vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and back pain following her salon appointments. Each episode of acute kidney injury coincided with a hair treatment session at the same salon, during which the patient reported a burning sensation and scalp ulcers.

Medical examinations revealed elevated plasma creatinine levels in her blood. Plasma creatinine, a byproduct of muscle metabolism, is typically filtered out by the kidneys. Researchers identified the use of a hair cream containing 10% glyoxylic acid during salon visits as the likely cause of kidney damage.

The letter highlights concerns over the nephrotoxic effects of glyoxylic acid in hair-straightening products, particularly its potential to induce calcium oxalate-induced nephropathy. Glyoxylic acid, touted as a safer alternative to formaldehyde in hair products, has raised alarms among medical experts.

The study also referenced 26 cases in Israel where patients suffered acute kidney injuries following “Brazilian-style” hair-straightening procedures. These findings echo a 2022 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggesting a link between chemical hair-straightening products and increased risk of uterine cancer in women, attributed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals present in such products.

In light of these findings, medical professionals urge caution regarding the use of hair products containing glyoxylic acid, advocating for their avoidance and potential discontinuation from the market to prevent further health risks.

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