Today, I went for a hair cut… yeah, finally, when I could no longer tolerate my long hair almost touching my waist. It is darn irritating to have a bunch of hair brushing on my shoulders and my back when I run in the morning. So after dropping off Sherilyn at the ballet centre, hubs and I went to have our hair cut. During the hair wash, the hair stylist applied some hair treatment emollient on my hair and scalp. Oh my, that was just so, so refreshing on my scalp. And the smell of mint was invigorating and uplifting. After a period of 5 minutes, my entire scalp felt so cool and light. I was lying down on the reclining chair at the hair wash room and I really wished that I could lie there with the cooling mint on my head forever!
Next was the hair cut and hair drying process. I asked the hair stylist about rebonding and he recommended that I try keratin hair treatment instead. When he mentioned that it would cost a whopping RM800+ before discount, I almost fell off the chair *cough*!! What, I ain’t going to spend almost a thousand bucks (plus hair cut and hair wash) on a keratin hair treatment even if I were a millionaire’s wife. And it is simply because I do not like to have chemicals on my scalp, which can be absorbed into my body. So never mind that I have frizzy hair and that the hair stylist tells me that my hair lacks protein, shine and what nots. I do not care for I love my health more. I do not even put any gel or hair spray or any kind of tonic to so call ‘nourish’ my scalp. They are all harmful chemicals unless the solution is organic and have no harsh chemicals.
And whether it is purely coincidental or as a result of chemical overload, the hair stylist who had keratin hair treatment and had tried a whole array of hair and scalp treatment on herself is battling infertility.
What is Keratin Hair Treatment?
Keratin hair treatment or famously called ‘miracle straightening treatment’, is widely popular for removing frizz and curls. It is considered as a natural method of straightening hair, since no harsh chemicals are used. However, the pitfalls of this treatment became apparent when many unsatisfied customers started reporting the numerous side effects of keratin for hair. Before discovering the side effects of keratin treatment, let us first know what this treatment actually is.
Keratin Hair Treatment
Keratin is a natural protein found in hair, teeth, nails etc. It adds soft, silky, shiny texture to the hair. In case of curly, frizzy hair, the natural keratin is not sufficient to add smooth texture to the hair. The keratin hair treatment mainly aims at replenishing the keratin content in the hair. The keratin that is required for this treatment, is obtained from animal sources or other natural sources. During the treatment, this keratin product is applied on hair, followed by hot ironing. This hair straightening technique is necessary to cover the hair cuticle with keratin and trap the moisture within the hair. The product is then rinsed off, to reveal pin straight hair.
Side effects surface only after the first wash, which is recommended after 72 hours of treatment. The various short term and long term side effects of keratin hair treatment are as follows.
Excessive Hair Loss
This is one of the most immediate aftermath of keratin hair treatment. Many customers who have had the treatment done report heavy hair loss as a side effect of this treatment. The hair start falling from its root after the first wash itself, even if you wash with recommended hair care products only. Moreover, the amount of hair fall is so overwhelming that a prominent thinning pattern can be observed within weeks of treatment. However, your dermatologist might want you to undergo a few tests to rule out other causes, before treating you for hair loss due to keratin treatment.
Potential to Induce Cancer
Formaldehyde, a carcinogenic substance is the major component of almost every keratin hair treatment product, including Brazilian keratin hair treatment. Thus, long term use of these products is associated with increased risk of cancer. Although, most salons make use of masks to escape the fumes of formaldehyde, there is no way of preventing the small amounts of formaldehyde from getting absorbed in the skin. To avoid this risk, one can make use of formaldehyde free products that are now widely available. However, these products may not give you the desired results, as the straightening effect is mainly due to formaldehyde.
Deterioration of Hair Texture
You may find your hair full of luster, immediately after the treatment. But, do not stay under the impression that your hair will remain so forever. In fact, you’ll notice your hair texture degrading within 2 – 3 weeks of treatment. The hair becomes dry, fade and all messed up. Also, it is likely that your hair will stay pin straight even after washing twice. This can be particularly frustrating if your hair stylist told you to expect relaxed and natural looking hair in a day or two.
Just like any other hair treatment, this treatment is also capable of inducing allergic reactions in a few people. The symptoms include itching, rash etc., which are typical allergy symptoms. Skin disorders such as eczema are also associated with keratin hair treatment. To avoid allergic problems resulting from this treatment, your hair stylist should first identify your hair texture so as to choose an appropriate product for your hair and scalp type. Also, you should clearly mention, if you have a history of allergic reactions.
Keratin hair treatment side effects are many and that too pretty serious. You definitely do not want to let go of your precious hair (no matter how curly or frizzy it may be) for smooth, straight hair which won’t last for more than a couple of months. Hence, think twice before you are ready to take the plunge.