Health Ministry removes licenses for hair-straightening cosmetics that caused kidney damage

The committee found that there is a causal link between the time between the straightening and the kidney damage in the reported cases.

 IN AKKADIAN, ‘pe-ra wasarat’ means hair that is unloosened rather than uncovered.  (photo credit: Element5 Digital/Unsplash)
IN AKKADIAN, ‘pe-ra wasarat’ means hair that is unloosened rather than uncovered.
(photo credit: Element5 Digital/Unsplash)

After it identified over 20 cases of severe side effects from hair-straightening creams containing glyoxylic acid that serious side effects including kidney failure requiring dialysis, the Health Ministry has canceled the licenses for their sale and use. 

The decision was made after ministry director-general Prof. Nachman Ash instructed an advisory committee six months ago to examine the cases involving the creams, which are sold and used by cosmeticians. 

The committee found that there is a causal link between the time between the straightening and the kidney damage in the reported cases, the absence of another factor in a comprehensive investigation and the presence of the active ingredient in the hair straightening materials and the kidney damage.

In light of the committee’s recommendations and after the ministry gave the holders of the relevant licenses an opportunity to voice their claims, it revoked the licenses for the chemical to protect public health. 

Hair-straightening products containing glyoxylic acid are still sold over the Internet and claimed by companies to be “safe.” 

Prof. Nachman Ash, Israel's Health Ministry director-general. (credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)Prof. Nachman Ash, Israel's Health Ministry director-general. (credit: HEALTH MINISTRY)

Ministry issues a public warning

The ministry warns the public that using products that have not been granted a license or products that do not comply with the terms of its license may harm public health. It should be carefully checked that only approved cosmetics and those that do not contain additional substances whose composition has not been tested and whose safety is approved are used.

The section of the ministry’s website (in Hebrew) here lists those cosmetics approved for use.