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9 Reasons to Rethink Keratin Hair Treatments

Updated on August 27, 2017
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Katleigh is an English major and a happy Avon rep. She plans to see the world on a budget.

What Is a Keratin Hair Treatment?

Keratin hair treatments are a salon treatment designed to straighten your hair and reduce daily upkeep time. They are commonly marketed to the African-American community and are very popular among those with thickly textured hair.

However, keratin hair treatments come with a host of negative side effects and are potentially very dangerous to you and your salon hairstylist. From carcinogenic ingredients to a hefty price tag, here are nine reasons to rethink your keratin hair treatment.

Some of the ingredients in keratin treatments may surprise you.
Some of the ingredients in keratin treatments may surprise you. | Source

1. The USDA Issued A Hazard Alert

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a Hazard Alert on Brazilian keratin hair treatments, based on the carcinogenic properties found in formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a common ingredient in many toxic chemical cocktails like embalming fluid and is bad for your overall health. Not only is it dangerous to you, but it hurts your stylist and everyone else in the salon. According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States: "Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that presents a health hazard if workers are exposed. You can be exposed to formaldehyde if you breathe it into your lungs, if it gets into your eyes, or if it is contained in a product that gets onto your skin. You can also be exposed accidentally if you touch your face, eat food, or drink after using a product containing formaldehyde without first washing your hands. It can irritate the eyes and nose, and cause coughing and wheezing."

2. Even One Exposure Can Hurt You

One time exposure to formaldehyde, a common ingredient in keratin treatments, can cause skin irritation, dryness, and asthma-like symptoms.

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3. The Initial Treatment Is Expensive

Keratin treatments are costly, often running upwards of two hundred dollars for a single treatment. Keratin treatments are one of the most costly hair treatments on the market even at a professional level. There are many other salon-grade treatments on the market, a popular and much safer option being amino acid treatments, that are more cost-effective.

4. Keratin Treatments Can Damage Hair

Although keratin treatments are effective in straightening hair, it causes damage and can cause breakage and even hair loss. Hair appears smooth after the initial treatment, but chemical upkeep is required to maintain the silky smooth texture.

5. You Need Special Products Afterwards

You have to buy special sodium chloride free shampoos, conditioners, and treatments, making chemically treated hair much more expensive to upkeep.

6. Pregnant Women Can't Get Them

Keratin treatments are not suitable for pregnant women or those planning to conceive. Formaldehyde, methylene glycol, and other carcinogenic ingredients in these treatments can cause birth defects.

7. You Might Be Allergic

Allergic reactions are common with keratin treatments, resulting in irritation, rashes, and respiratory problems.

8. Lots of Training and Risk Means More Fees For You

A well-trained stylist willing to work with carcinogenic ingredients is needed to properly administer keratin treatments, making it more expensive.

9. It May Hurt Your Hair In The Long Run

Due to its damaging chemical nature, keratin treatments may change the structure of the hair, affecting texture.


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