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© 2019 Simply Organic Beauty

organic-salonThe average career of a salon professional is only eight years and 11 months. Most stylists’ careers end because of health issues related to skin irritations or complications with breathing. Salon professionals are three times more likely to be inflicted with obesity, depression, or social anxiety disorder at some point throughout their lifetime. More and more salon professionals are turning to ammonia-free and more natural and organic products to maintain their health and prolong their successful careers. Well-informed salon professionals are learning how to revitalize their health and wellness through the use of organic salon products.

Ammonia is a gas with an extremely sharp, pungent, irritating odor. Its fumes come from the substance of Ammonia Hydroxide. It is commonly used in hair color to open the hair cuticle as it is a corrosive substance that extracts water from the cells causing an inflammatory response which damages surrounding tissues. This is completely counterproductive to nurturing healthy hair as ammonia has many detrimental effects on human hair.

Ammonia is a Toxic Chemical

The professional salon industry is generally under the impression that ammonia is safe. However, this caustic toxin which is commonly used in commercial cleaning products and manufacturing explosives is actually considered TOXIC by the World Health Organization and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. There is also strong evidence that ammonia disrupts and destroys the cells in our body, causing tissue necrosis. This leads to the following health problems:

  • Long-term exposure to ammonia fumes can cause obesity, depression, and social anxiety disorder.
  • Daily exposure to ammonia can cause high blood pressure, pulmonary edema, and bronchitis.
  • Continued contact with ammonia hydroxide will dry the skin and damage skin cells and eventually cause serious skin complications.
  • Exposure to ammonia fumes can damage eyes, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
  • Even brief exposure to ammonia fumes can trigger asthma and irritate or amplify allergies.

Ammonia Should Not Be Used in Hair Color

Ammonia has the following destructive effects on hair:

  • The corrosive characteristics of ammonia destroy the tyrosine in human hair. Tyrosine is the protein that regulates the production of melanin, the hair’s natural pigments. Therefore, using ammonia in hair color destroys hair’s natural ability to “hold” color.
  • Ammonia causes a destructive inflammatory effect on follicles rendering them dormant for an indeterminate amount of time and causing hair to thin.
  • The corrosive characteristics of ammonia  – while an important property in opening the cuticle – irreparably damages the cuticle which sacrifices the hair’s structural integrity. Although conditioning the hair will help temporarily close down the cuticle, it does not restore the hairs structure or repair the cuticle.
  • Because ammonia extracts water from the cells, it depletes the hair of moisture. Also, the corrosive characteristics of ammonia will destroy and incapacitate the sebaceous glands which produce sebum, the hair’s natural moisturizer. Although moisturizing hair treatment will temporarily restore some of the moisture, it will not replenish the moisture deep in the hair’s cells that ammonia has extracted.

There are more effective, safer, and natural ways to open the cuticle, but they are rarely used in hair color because the organic raw ingredients are significantly more expensive than the synthetic ammonia they replace.


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  1. Kathy Pinnell Cavanaugh

    I would like to share my story of over exposure to ammonia. Seven months ago I went to a salon to have my hair highlighted as I have done for years. What was different about this appointment was the stylist used a product that protects the hair from damage during the coloring process by rebuilding broken disulfide bonds, called Olaplex. She explained to me this product is “insurance for the hair” and the time the highlighting products left on the hair will not cause damage to the hair.
    I was placed under a dryer for 30 minutes, and sat another 15 minutes once the dryer timer went off. The stylist never checked on me during this.
    Two days later I had burns on the skin of my forehead and hairline, burning in my eyes, throat and lungs. I was coughing uncontrollably and it was very hard to breath. I went to my doctor and he diagnosed me with Acute Chemical Pneumonitis due to breathing fumes from the salon treatment.
    I’ve been hospitalized twice from breathing difficulties and in the ER twice. A bronchial scope showed severe inflammation of my airways and lining of my lungs and showed burns in my bronchial passages. The fumes also caused burns to the corneas of my eyes and have permanently damaged the gland the produces tears. It was 2 months before I began to regain some of my vision. My vision 7 months later is very bad and now I must wear glasses.
    I’ve been on heavy doses of steroids for months, I now have to use an inhaler and nebulizer to help me breath. I have chronic fatigue now also. It has been a nightmare and drastically changed my life overnight.
    I am wondering if anyone has had experienced with a similar situation? I want to say that I am in no way blaming Olaplex. This happened due to the fumes that where created from being under heat and the length of time I was under the dryer.
    The ironic thing is this was done by one of the salons senior stylists who teaches color theory at the salons school.

    • Sara

      Wow!!! That is crazy, but definitely makes sense… sorry that happened to you.

    • Alline E Burns

      Wow how sad I want to share your story

    • Joyce Cacchione

      Hi Kathy. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you. Question: if someone (family, friend etc had tried to warn you about the chemical dangers to your body from repeated salon visits, would you have done anything differently? Our need to feel beautiful drives us to do damaging things to our health because we never think “that will happen to me”. Please band together with like-minded people and let businesses know we won’t patronize them if the outcome is detrimental to our health. There are ways to heal your body naturally. Good luck and God bless.

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