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December 11, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(24):1978-1980. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780500001011

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The danger of severe burns from ignition of celluloid combs is not generally recognized by the public. Such burns have usually occurred while the so-called water wave was being made in the hair. In this beautifying process the scalp is first shampooed or simply moistened, the combs are placed in suitable position and the hair is then allowed to dry by room temperature or by artificial heat. It is during the drying process by artificial heat that disastrous results may take place if the heating apparatus is too close to the hair.

Six cases of severe burns from the ignition of celluloid combs have come to my attention in the last few years. In all of them the scalp was injured by third degree burns, causing scars and permanent loss of hair. All except one of these patients also had burns on other parts of the body. Two of them were

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