Note from BW of Brazil: Many questions remain after a woman in the northeastern state of Bahia recently died about a week after applying a hair relaxing product to her hair. In yesterday’s post about the case, the dangers of some chemicals in popular hair relaxers, such as sodium hydroxide, was mentioned as featured in comedian Chris Rock’s documentary, Good Hair. The key ingredient in the relaxer from yesterday’s case is called hidróxido de guanidine, or guanidine hydroxide. According to the website Vya Estelar in an article about chemical treatments for cabelo afro (afro textured hair) “guanidine hydroxide, is more efficient than sodium hydroxide and is less aggressive on the skin” although the use of an acid neutralizer is also necessary. The case is still pending investigation as more details are still necessary to come to a conclusion about the cause of death. The woman’s husband, who is a hairstylist, mentioned that his wife applied the relaxer herself, which could be another key detail. Experts on hair discussed the case below.
Experts discuss woman’s death after the use of a hair relaxing product
from newsroom of A Tarde
The death of Maria Cleide Lopes da Silva after applying a hair relaxer by the Salon Line brand in her hair, in the city Barriers in western Bahia, was a topic among hairdressers and dermatologists in Salvador on Friday, January 3rd.
According to the doctor Pretusca Pirajá, of the Instituto de Dermatologia e Alergia da Bahia (Institute of Dermatology and Allergy of Bahia), the occurrence of death is not common, but can happen in allergies. “A person can use a product for 20 years and not feel anything. But, if you are allergic, a reaction will take some time,” she says.
A dermatologist also draws attention to the negligence in the application of chemical products by some hairdressers: “Generally, the client doesn’t know which substances make up the product.”
A professional for 35 years and owner of a salon in the Brotas region of Salvador, Bahia, Vanda Oliveira says that the substance used by the housewife in Barreiras causes mild side effects: “The most that can happen are minor burns on the scalp or hair loss.”
The hairdresser Carlos Fontes said it’s common that the customer lies about their past with chemicals: “In this case, the fault is not the hairdresser. You can identify if the hair has gone through the process and suggest another product if needed,” says Ruy Ribeiro, also a hairdresser.