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(Last Updated On: March 26, 2021)

Public Alert No:006/2021 – Formaldehyde In Hair Smoothing Products: What You Should Know

March 26, 2021,

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been informed by U.S Food and Drug Administration of the short- and long-term effects of formaldehyde exposure in Hair smoothing products.

Most hair smoothing or straightening products release formaldehyde gas, a known human carcinogen as classified by the International Agency for Research on cancer, into the air during hair straightening or smoothing process. When formaldehyde is released into the air and is present in the air at levels exceeding 0.1 ppm, it can cause serious irritation of the eyes, nose and lungs. It can also cause skin sensitivity or allergic dermatitis.


Don’t apply the hair products yourself at home. Go to a licensed hair professional in a salon. Hair professionals should be trained to take precautions such as wearing gloves and safety glasses, as well as making sure that there is proper ventilation when applying hair smoothing products.

Read through the list of components. Whilst the U.S Food and drug administration discourages individuals from buying hair smoothing products for home use, if you are obtaining from a retailer or purchasing online to utilize, read the required list of ingredients. If there isn’t one, don’t buy the product. If the hair smoothing product lists one of these ingredient names on the packaging formaldehyde, formalin, or methylene glycol, then it means the product contains formaldehyde or will release formaldehyde. Be aware that not all hair smoothing products contain formaldehyde, which is why you need to read the label to see what is in the product. 

If you experience a bad response to a hair smoothing solution, halt use of the product or service and report your reactions to your health care provider.

Consumers, Hair and health professionals are encouraged to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of these Smoothing products to the nearest NAFDAC office, NAFDAC PRASCOR [20543 or 0800-1-NAFDAC (0800-1-623322) TOLL FREE from all networks] or via pharmacovigilance@nafdac.gov.ng or via eReporting platform available on the NAFDAC website www.nafdac.gov.ng or via Med Safety Application available for download on Android and IOS stores.

NAFDAC……..Customer-focused, Agency-minded!!!

Signed Management

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