What Are the Different Keratin Side Effects?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Keratin may cause hair loss.
Keratin may cause hair loss.

Keratin is a protein found naturally in the human body that makes up physical structures such as the hair and nails. When these basic structures become weakened and keratin is lost, it is possible to add keratin through cosmetic processes to fill in gaps in the original keratin fibers, providing better strength. Most commonly, people use keratin as a hair straightening treatment. The possible keratin side effects include hair loss, allergic reactions, itching, rashes, irritation of the eyes, lungs, throat, mouth and nose, hair dryness, and cancer. These side effects are not from the keratin itself, but from the processing tools and additives included with the keratin products that help them work.

Keratin is a protein that can be found in skin cells.
Keratin is a protein that can be found in skin cells.

Some people who use keratin products find that, after a treatment, hair is extremely dry and brittle. In some cases, this leads to breakage and thinning of the hair. This happens because cosmetologists use heat-based styling tools such as flat irons to coax the hair straight. The heat saps the moisture from the strands and causes a loss of elasticity. The problem worsens as an individual continues to style the hair with heat-based tools, unless she is vigilant about using conditioning and moisturizing treatments.

A possible side effect of keratin is eye irritation.
A possible side effect of keratin is eye irritation.

Almost all of the other keratin side effects are due to the formaldehyde the products include. Formaldehyde helps hold the keratin molecules together, which is largely what makes the product effective. This chemical is a known carcinogen. Problems such as irritation of the throat and lungs come from inhaling the formaldehyde during processing. Experts recommend that keratin products have no more than 0.02 to 0.2 percent formaldehyde for this reason, but this is problematic because the treatment is not as effective with anything less than 2 percent, with many manufacturers making products with percentages as high as 10 percent.

Keratin straightener treatments often take several hours to apply, but results usually last for several months.
Keratin straightener treatments often take several hours to apply, but results usually last for several months.

Concerns about keratin side effects have led professional health agencies to crack down on companies that have unsafe levels of formaldehyde in their keratin products. In response, some manufacturers replace formaldehyde with other chemicals. These manufacturers can and do market these products as formaldehyde-free, but the products are not necessarily safer. Other manufacturers remove harmful ingredients, replacing them with plant-based ingredients to seal the keratin, but these wash out easily and sometimes lose their effectiveness after just one wash.

Some people who have curly hair use keratin straighteners or conditioners.
Some people who have curly hair use keratin straighteners or conditioners.

Despite concerns about keratin side effects, some individuals continue to use keratin products because of the convenience and beauty they believe is found with straighter hair. Many women, for example, can spend well over an hour trying to wash, blow-dry and iron kinks, curls and waves out of hair. With a keratin treatment, a person can sometimes finish styling in just a few minutes. Cosmetologists have greater risk for keratin side effects because they work with keratin products on a much more regular basis compared to their clients.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon1005787

Well, I have eczema so I'm used to my skin weeping, but I have always been able to use cocoa butter lotion or any kind of moisturizer on my skin and it would help. But since I moved into the place I live in now (two years ago) my skin feels like sandpaper and nothing helps. Also, my hair has not grown in two years since we have moved in here. I got sick back at the end of May with ammonia pneumonia and shortly after starting to feel better and recover, I noticed my hair was thinning and now I can see my scalp if I move my hair a certain way. I have always had thick hair and it never took long to grow back if I cut my hair. My house is very dry and we have a lot of nitrates in our water/. Could this be causing my skin problem and my hair falling out?

Heavanet

When possible, it is best to avoid any products that have formaldehyde in its contents. If you want to reduce the risk of side effects to keratin, look for the formaldehyde-free kind, possibly available at a health foods store.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Keratin may cause hair loss.
      By: Barabas Attila
      Keratin may cause hair loss.
    • Keratin is a protein that can be found in skin cells.
      By: Deyan Georgiev
      Keratin is a protein that can be found in skin cells.
    • A possible side effect of keratin is eye irritation.
      By: Kasi Lodrigue
      A possible side effect of keratin is eye irritation.
    • Keratin straightener treatments often take several hours to apply, but results usually last for several months.
      By: and.one
      Keratin straightener treatments often take several hours to apply, but results usually last for several months.
    • Some people who have curly hair use keratin straighteners or conditioners.
      By: indiraswork
      Some people who have curly hair use keratin straighteners or conditioners.
    • Keratin may cause hair loss as a side effect.
      By: prudkov
      Keratin may cause hair loss as a side effect.
    • Signs of an allergic reaction may include nose irritation.
      By: Chepko Danil
      Signs of an allergic reaction may include nose irritation.