The keratin treatment has become very popular over the past decade due to its ability to dramatically change a hair’s condition. The keratin straightening treatment can turn frizzy and curly hair into pin straight and smooth hair. It makes your hair strong, shiny and manageable again and helps retain the look for three to four months.
Are Keratin Treatments Safe for Your Health?
To be able to straighten your hair the formulation– along with keratin – must contain chemical straightening agents. Many straightening systems include formaldehyde and chemicals that can cause both acute and long-term health problems. As a client, you can only get the treatment a couple of times per year. Your biggest concerns will probably be the short-term effects, like irritation on your scalp, skin, eyes, and lungs. Choose a salon that has safety precautions in place, like face and ventilation. However, constant exposure to chemicals during the treatment process could pose health concerns and cause both acute and long-term health problems for the stylists.
Dangers of being exposed to the chemicals during the treatment process for the client and the stylist include.
• Eye irritation
• Skin irritations, particularly in the scalp
• Ears and nose irritation
• Coughing and difficulty in breathing
• Hair loss
• Allergic reaction
Allergic reactions manifest in the form of itching, skin irritation, burning eyes and throat, and asthma attacks. Your dermatologist will give complete advice on which products to stay away from. It is important to let your hair stylist know if you have any history of allergic reactions.
Formaldehyde Exposure Health Risks
Formaldehyde is a chemical that is present in many products as a preservative, an embalming agent and a disinfectant. Formaldehyde can also modify our hair proteins, causing the hair to return to its original, smooth, healthy state. Formaldehyde is classified as a suspected human carcinogen, according to Agency and federal OSHA and it can cause acute and long-term health problems in sensitive persons, including breathing difficulties, nausea, and bloody noses. Formaldehyde levels of above 0.1 ppm in the air can irritate your nose, throat, and lungs. If formaldehyde levels go up, the symptoms will get worse. Longer-term risks of exposure are more troubling.
You can be exposed to formaldehyde by:
• Breathing it in through your nose and mouth
• Getting it on your skin
• Getting it in your eyes or mouth
• Applied to your hair
• Heated on your head with high-temperature blow dryers and flat irons
• Being used on other customers in a saloon
Is there Formaldehyde-Free Keratin Treatment?
There are many formaldehyde-free formulations that are now available after the awareness has been created. As the battle heated up and public awareness grew, salons began offering “no-formaldehyde” and “low-formaldehyde” treatments. However, some hair-smoothing products listed as formaldehyde-free actually contain ingredients that break down into formaldehyde during the heat application with the irons. Ingredients that are synonyms for or that break down into formaldehyde include formalin, formic aldehyde, methanol, methylene glycol, methylene oxide, oxomethane, and oxymethylene. Other products that claim to be formaldehyde-free were found, when tested by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to contain significant levels of formaldehyde. The low-formaldehyde products, while not as toxic as the original formulations, still carry health risks.
The truly formaldehyde-free products don’t do much to smooth out the hair, leaving consumers dissatisfied.
Chemical Straightening Treatments Alternative
If you want the smooth, frizz-free hair without potential side effects, there are some highly effective alternatives to chemical straightening treatments.
To get the quality, long lasting straightening and smoothing results you need to spend good money on a very high quality, ceramic plated flat iron. Quality flat iron should go up to 400 degrees, as this is the temperature that really helps smooth the cuticle and infuse intense shine.
Other features to look for which help to seal the cuticle and get shiny hair, are tourmaline and ionic functions. Tourmaline and ionic features mean that the product uses the negative ions technology to make the hair shiny and dramatically cut down the straightening time.
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Medical Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.