Keratin hair treatments, dubbed by the fashion and style word as the "Brazilian Blowout," is a way to get the smooth, shiny hair that you've always wanted. Unfortunately, what your stylist may not explain to you is the risks associated with this keratin treatment. Despite being touted as a way to infuse healthy protein into your hair, keratin hair treatments contain known carcinogens that can be dangerous to your health. Talking to your stylist about safe application can help reduce the risks, but the keratin treatments should be used infrequently at best.
The straightening agent found in all keratin treatments is formaldehyde, notes CBS News, the chemical typically used for preserving bodies and cigarettes. Formaldehyde may straighten the hair, but it can be dangerous to your respiratory tract. No formaldehyde-free formulas for straightening the hair exist. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has noted that 0.2 percent is a safe level for formaldehyde in cosmetics.
When you visit your stylist for a keratin treatment, it's important to remember that no government agency regulates the usage of formaldehyde in beauty products, FDA spokesperson Suzan Curzan tells "Salon Today." That means the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of keratin hair treatments in any way. Without any form of regulation, you cannot be sure that your favorite keratin treatment is safe to use. It could contain harmful ingredients without your being aware of them.
Lung and Respiratory Disease
Constantly breathing a harmful chemical like formaldehyde could lead to certain lung and respiratory conditions, says Dr. Ellen Marmur, chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. This is especially concerning if you get a keratin hair treatment often, or you are the one applying keratin treatments on a daily basis. Dr. Marmur notes that the chemical can also kill respiratory tract cells, making you more susceptible to respiratory problems in the future.
Eye and Skin Problems
Never allow the treatment to stay on your hair longer than as directed by the manufacturer. You may experience a reaction to chemicals in the keratin treatment, especially near your eyes and on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, a rash or irritation could develop. Your eyes may experience stinging or watering, due to chemical fumes, warns "Reality Check Girl" magazine. You may also experience headache and itching after the treatment. Assess the risks and determine whether or not the treatment is worth them before you get this hair treatment.