It may not come as a surprise to you that I am one of the many girls that is dissatisfied with their hair. My hair is in an in-betweener stage where it is neither straight nor completely curly either. To sum it up, most times it is a frizzy mess. When I was younger though, my hair was curly and I had always loved to get it blown out and straightened by a hair stylist. Because of this, when I got older, I decided to get the keratin treatment on my hair to make it straighter and not frizzy. Now you make be asking yourself, what is the keratin treatment, and how does it work to essentially “straighten” your hair? Well, a hair stylist puts a chemical mixture, similar to a paste, into your hair that is able to straighten it and rid of the frizz. The chemical is then washed out of your hair after a certain amount of time and later the treatment is sealed into your hair by the use of a flat iron. After getting the keratin treatment done, I was always curious to know if it was causing serious damage to my hair, or if the treatment was not detrimental to the health of my hair at all. I wanted to research this so that I can feel confident that I am safe and that my hair will remain healthy if I continue to get the treatment done.
To begin, I first researched what the word “keratin” actually means. It is a protein that is found in your hair, as well as other various parts of your body. The keratin treatment is meant to reinforce and accentuate the healthiness of your hair. I then researched what kinds of chemicals are put into your hair and to see if they can damage your hair. The main chemical that is put into your hair for the keratin treatment is formaldehyde. It seems that instead of damaging your hair, formaldehyde has detrimental effects to other parts of your body when you are surrounded by it and if you inhale it at extreme amounts. Formaldehyde often times can irritate a customer’s eyes, ears, nose and throat while the treatment is being done. It can also affect a hair stylist’s health, so often times they will have to wear a mask so that the chemical is not heavily inhaled. When I got my keratin treatment done, my eyes began to tear up uncontrollably and my hair stylist took a break so that I was able to regroup and stay away from the chemical for a few minutes. In that case, the chemical had been severely irritating my eyes, which is a common thing that formaldehyde will do.
Although one may think that this chemical is damaging your hair, it is important to note that the chemical itself has damaging affects on your body and not your hair. It is said that the only damage that can be done to your hair is by flat-ironing it on a consistent basis. In fact, there is no causal relationship between formaldehyde and your hair, but rather a causal relationship between formaldehyde and certain sensitive parts of your body such as your eyes, ears, nose and throat. Formaldehyde causes uncomfortable feelings and symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pains and worst case, bronchitis when there is high exposure to formaldehyde.
Ultimately, after reading my post and looking into some studies that have been done, would you risk your overall health just to have your hair look “picture-perfect” on a hot and humid day? Probably not. It is unfortunate but after researching the detriments of formaldehyde, I will no longer be getting the keratin treatment. There are many other ways in which I can style my hair when it is unruly instead of causing long-term damage to my health and to my body.
“Formaldehyde.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
Mann, Denise. “Keratin Hair Treatments.” WebMD. N.p., n.d. Web.
Platt, Isabel. “What’s the Deal with Keratin Treatments?” National Center For Health Research. N.p., 09 Aug. 2016. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.