How Risky Are Brazilian-Style Blowouts?

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Visit a salon, and leave with smoother, shinier, or straighter hair that lasts for weeks. That's the promise made by Brazilian style blowout products. Just one catch-- they can be risky to your health. And here's why. When your stylist puts hair smoothing lotion that has formaldehyde in your hair, he'll usually heat it with a flat iron or a blow dryer. That can release formaldehyde gas into the air. And at unsafe levels, it could irritate your eyes, trigger allergic reactions, and even raise your risk for cancer.

Some lotions that claim to be formaldehyde-free may have ingredients that also can pose risks. So if you're wondering what's in a certain product at your salon, just ask. The safe move is to skip those Brazilian style blowouts. You've got other ways to smooth your do. Change up your hair products, and talk to your stylist.

For WebMD, I'm Dr. Arefa Cassoobhoy.