Can this Popular Hair Relaxer Cause Baldness?

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A lawsuit filed against cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal claims its hair relaxer product SoftSheen Carson causes severe scalp burns and baldness. SoftSheen is a hair product popular with African American women. Plaintiffs in the case argue they were led to believe the product was safe.

Attorneys involved in the case claim L’Oreal downplayed the risks of using SoftSheen by promoting healthy ingredients on the product label. SoftSheen’s label promotes its use of “alma oil,” an ingredient derived from superfruit. The attorneys argued that alma oil is just a smokescreen, and the product contains much greater concentrations of toxic chemicals.

Many of the 2,500 women represented in the lawsuit have shared stories of severe emotional distress. Two plaintiffs harmed by SoftSheen claim they now use hairpieces or wigs to hide the damage caused by the product.

L’Oreal claims its product has warnings on the labeling specifying that it may cause injuries to skin, eyes and permanent hair loss. However, the labeling also claims SoftSheen protects the hair and scalp. Plaintiffs in the case are seeking more than $5 million in damages and have called for the product to be pulled from shelves.

This is not the first hair relaxer product that has caused scalp burns and hair loss. In the 1990s, the Food and Drug Administration received thousands of complaints about Rio, another hair relaxer popular with African American women. Eventually, Rio disappeared from the market. Consumers harmed by Rio received a $4.5 million judgment.

Victims of Defective Cosmetic Products May Have Legal Options

Businesses that market unsafe products as safe destroy the lives of consumers. When defects or dangers are withheld from the public, people can suffer life-altering consequences. Consumers harmed by these products should consult with a product liability attorney to discuss possible legal options.