Keratin treatments are among the ways to smooth and often straighten hair. It describes the process as a Brazilian treatment with Keratin, also known as Brazilian blowout. This involves applying product to hair, drying it, and sealing it with your flat iron.

Keratin is a natural protein in your hair, skin, and nails. Keratin treatments can add Keratin to your hair which helps reduce frizz, boost shine, and improve the strength of your hair. If you have hair that is curly or wavy, Keratin treatments may also improve your hair’s straightness.

However, keratin treatments may have undesirable adverse side effects and can pose some security issues.

Potential side effects

Keratin used in cosmetics derives from hair, skin, nails, or even animals. Although Keratin is a naturally occurring protein, these cosmetics are manufactured by adding other ingredients that include a formaldehyde chemical.

The American Cancer Society’s Trusted Source warns that formaldehyde can be an established carcinogen. It could cause cancer or aid in its ability to spread. Formaldehyde can also cause health-related side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration Trusted Source informed that formaldehyde and its related components in keratin treatments might contribute to:

  • soreness of eye
  • headaches
  • feeling dizziness
  • irritation of throat
  • coughing and wheezing
  • feeling exhausted
  • feeling nausea
  • chest pain
  • feeling vomiting
  • rash

These adverse reactions were reported by those who have received Keratin treatments and stylists who offered them.

The symptoms usually occur in the course of or immediately following a Keratin treatment that bases on products that contain formaldehyde. It isn’t clear if treatment with Keratin that contains formaldehyde has lasting health effects or what the results could be.

Benefits of Keratin treatments:

The advantages you will get from Keratin treatments depend on your hair type and the product you choose.

  • Smooth and Soft hair. Exposure to sunlight, hair dye, sun, and other chemical treatments may remove your hair’s natural Keratin, resulting in a porous surface that is more prone to damage and breakage. Keratin treatments use to “refill” these areas stripped of the Keratin. This results in a smoother hair shaft and silky, shiny hair.
  • Straighter hair. Keratin treatments can straighten curly or curly hair, depending on the products employed in the treatment.
  • Smoother curls. This is right- the keratin treatment doesn’t need to result in straight hair. Specific formulas can reduce frizziness and give you softer curly, smoother waves or curls.
  • Stronger hair. Replenishing the lost Keratin in your hair shaft treatment with Keratin can make your hair more durable and less susceptible to breakage. Growing inches longer could make hair strands less likely to break for certain people.
  • Thicker-looking hair. As well as stimulating hair growth, replenishing the Keratin via a keratin treatment may increase the appearance of hair.

If you go for Keratin treatments, inform your stylist of the results you’d like to achieve. They’ll be able to adjust the products and procedures to achieve the results you’re seeking.

How significant is the formaldehyde threat?

The issue with formaldehyde used in Keratin treatments is that they could contain more formaldehyde than is advertised.

For instance, a research study conducted in 2014 of keratin-based brands sold within South Africa found that 6 out of seven brands contained 0.96 percent to 1.4 percent levels of formaldehyde five times more than the safe limit at 0.2 percent.

An earlier study from 2011 similarly found higher-than-advertised levels of formaldehyde across four different brands of keratin treatments.

It is important to note that keratin treatments tend to carry out in salons, and other people get keratin treatments all day.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states that exposure to formaldehyde at an amount of 0.1 or 0.5 parts per million (ppm) can trigger irritation of the eyes and nose as well as neurological reactions and the risk of developing allergies and asthma. In concentrations of 0.6 to 1.9 mg/m2, people could suffer from eczema or changes in the function of their lungs.

The study revealed that the concentration of formaldehyde within the salon throughout the blow-drying phase of the keratin treatment varied between 0.08 and 3.47 ppm. The flat-ironing component that the procedure performed varied between 0.08 and 1.05 ppm. The top end for these ranges was over what most people could endure.

If you’re going to the salon to get a single treatment, there’s a chance you won’t feel any adverse effects. The exposure can lead to more health issues if you’re a stylist regularly employed in salons.

What are formaldehyde-free options?

A range of formaldehyde-free Keratin treatments has appeared in recent times. However, these could also have problems with labeling. Five of the products tested positive for formaldehyde during the study from 2012 mentioned above, for instance, were classified as formaldehyde-free.

Sometimes, the product may be laden with preservatives that release formaldehyde. Examples include:

  • benzylhemiformal
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • quaternion-15


Suppose you’re worried about the dangers of exposure to formaldehyde chemicals. In that case, There are alternatives to obtain similar effects as the ones you’d expect from a keratin-based treatment.

The heat styling process using a blow-dryer, flat iron, or blow-dryer can help temporarily smooth hair.

It’s also possible to maintain your health and health by ensuring it is moist (especially when using heating tools).

Try washing your hair as minimally as possible since shampoos can strip natural oils from your hair. It is also possible to switch towards your “no poo” method.

You can also apply other products that contain natural moisturizers, such as:

  • The benefit of using olive oil
  • Benefits of Argan Oil
  • Uses of Shea Butter
  • Uses of coconut oil 
  • Uses of sunflower oil

Bottom line.

Keratin hair treatments are an effective method to achieve more silky, shiny hair. However, they typically require using formaldehyde which can cause various adverse consequences.

Although some companies advertise their free formaldehyde products, many still contain some formaldehyde.

It’s unclear if periodic keratin treatment will adversely affect your health; however, it may be best to avoid the medicine if you’re hypersensitive or suffer from allergies or asthma.

Also, it’s best to stay clear of the keratin treatment if you’re expecting or nursing.


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