Formaldehyde (FHO) is a multipurpose chemical that is an eye, nose, throat and skin irritant, sensitizer and allergen, as well as a class 1 human carcinogen. Brazilian hair treatments, containing high levels of FHO (up to 11%), have become regularly used that have the potential to expose clients to toxic levels in excess of current regulatory standards. We report on a patient who underwent a single hair treatment and subsequently developed an autoimmune disease. We review the relevant literature on autoimmune disease and formaldehyde exposure. Our case adds to existing knowledge and suggests that physicians ask their patients about commercial products that contain formaldehyde when diagnosing autoimmune conditions.
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