Electric hair straightener burns an epidemiological and thermodynamic study

Burns. 2008 Jun;34(4):521-4. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2007.07.013. Epub 2007 Oct 18.


Hair straighteners are a popular beauty product in the UK. An alarming rise in admissions to the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, for burns caused by hair straighteners has led to this study. A thermodynamic study was also performed to look at temperature range and cooling profiles of these devices. Thirty-one cases were identified over a 32-month period, January 2003 to August 2006. Ninety-three percent (29 cases) were children with an average age of 4 years. The majority of burns were partial thickness to hands and feet, but 23% (seven cases) required admission and 10% (three cases) required surgical intervention. The hair straighteners reached a maximum temperature of 145 degrees C within 2min of activation and took up to 7min to cool below a temperature that would burn adult skin with a 1s contact. Children and crawling babies are at particular risk from preventable burns from hair straighteners. The frequency of burns from hair straighteners is rising and even small burns to the hand can have serious sequelae and need to be treated in specialist centres. Health promotion and discussion with the industry is required to stop this new and increasing problem.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Beauty Culture / instrumentation*
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Foot Injuries / etiology
  • Hand Injuries / etiology
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Wales / epidemiology
  • Young Adult