The formaldehyde MYTH: Formaldehyde is NOT contained in Cyanoacrylate (the main ingredient in lash adhesive). It is a dry gas so it cannot be added as an ingredient. Formaldehyde however, can be released by Lash Adhesive as a bio product breakdown – but it would need to be MONTHS of breakdown on the natural lashes to cause any effect. Lash technicians know the maximum an extension will be on the natural lashes will be 60-75 days (the total lifespan in the growth cycle). With this said, to minimize any breakdown of lash adhesive lash technicians should be using a new bottle of adhesive every 45-60 days.
Formaldehyde is a dry gas. It has never ever been a cosmetic ingredient. It is a 100% naturally occurring substance. In fact, we exhale formaldehyde. It is contained in organically grown food. Our bodies make formaldehyde and it is used to create proteins and other substances in our bodies. With this said, we can be exposed to minimal amounts as a bio- product of adhesive breakdown but the amount we are exposed to in a salon is extremely low and chemist DougSchoon says we should not be worried even as technicians working with it all day.
Is it a carcinogen? There is a science that shows that being exposed to large amounts of high concentrations of formaldehyde can cause a very very rare nasal cancer (but that is nothing to worry about as a lash technician as we work with such little amounts — if you’re a mortician though? Maybe.)
What else could be causing irritations? Stabilizers. Particularly hydroquinone or MHQ. These stabilizers slow down the cure rate of lash adhesives so they don’t instantly harden on the lash, so lash artists have a second or two to place the lash extension first. However, in lash adhesive there is less than 0.01% of hydroquinone and it does not touch the skin during a lash application — and to put it into perspective hydroquinone is also used in some skin creams (for lightening purposes) that are applied topically, and also in box hair dye in concentrations up to 3%. So, the risk is still extremely low that lash adhesive is going to set off a reaction.
The bottom line: There are risks with any cosmetic procedure, and lash artists are lucky to have a very very small percentage of clients become intolerant to the service. If your client is ever starting to experience any itchiness, redness, or swelling after their lash application – be very cautious proceeding. Try lint-freeeyepads opposed to gel, ditch the primer and opt for a simple saline prep of the lashes, and cure your client’s lashes with a nano-mister throughout the application as well as the end.