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Tuesday, April 2, 2024Publications

Alert on the toxicity of glyoxylic acid

Alerte sur la toxicité de l'acide glyoxylique

According to a study by French researchers, glyoxylic acid, which is increasingly used in hair straightening products to replace formaldehyde, could be responsible for acute kidney injury. In an article published in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, they call for products containing glyoxylic acid to be withdrawn from the market.

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This is not the first case of kidney failure observed after a hair straightening treatment, but it caught the attention of the research team.

A 26-year-old woman with no previous medical history suffered three episodes of acute kidney damage (in June 2020, April 2021 and July 2022), with vomiting, diarrhea, fever and back pain.
On each occasion, the symptoms occurred on the same day that the young woman had received a hair straightening treatment in the same salon using a product containing 10% glyoxylic acid, and on each occasion, the kidney function rapidly returned to normal.

Convincing results on mice

To investigate the role of glyoxylic acid in kidney damage, the researchers applied the straightening product to the backs of mice, and a neutral product to the backs of control mice.
The plasma creatinine level in the exposed mice increased significantly 28 hours after cutaneous application, the researchers explain. Three-dimensional CT scans of the kidneys of the exposed mice showed the presence of dense tubule-molding calcium oxalate monohydrate deposits, whereas no such deposits were seen in the control mice.

“These results provide evidence that hair-straightening cream containing glyoxylic acid is responsible for calcium oxalate–induced nephropathy after hair-straightening procedures of the …

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