Formaldehyde: The hidden carcinogen

Formaldehyde: The hidden carcinogen

Keratin is a protein found in skin, hair and nails. It’s also present in hair styling products and makes hair stronger. But with pollution and exposure to sun damage, the keratin levels in hair often drop. This is where a keratin treatment comes into the picture. This hair smoothing treatment has a few short-term perks. But what’s the downside? Just like every other hair treatment, it has its own risks.

Here’s everything you need to know.

For starters, most of these keratin treatments contain harmful chemicals that release formaldehyde - colorless, flammable, pungent-smelling fumes. This chemical has gained a bad reputation for its health risks that can affect both the stylist and the person receiving the treatment. The risk can be anything from mild irritation like watery eyes, burning sensation in the nose and throat, nausea, dizziness, wheezing, skin irritation to cancer, depending on the exposure.  

The FDA website mentions the possible reactions and potential health risks involved with hair-smoothing products that release formaldehyde when heated.

An article published by the American Cancer Society also states that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that formaldehyde is "carcinogenic to humans", and, based on sufficient evidence, it can cause nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.

Make sure to check out our blog on formaldehyde to know more!

Another area of concern in keratin treatments is the heat applied to seal the formulation into the hair. Depending on your hair texture, whether it’s bleached or not, and the amount of damage, the hair stylist may use moderate to high heat. Sometimes, the high heat from the flat iron can add to existing damage and weaken hair. Moreover, your hair tends to lose its natural oils and original texture.

Is keratin treatment a permanent solution? No. This is a temporary solution that usually lasts about 4-6 months. You might have to take about 3-4 sessions every year to maintain that smooth and frizz-free look. Which means it can turn into an expensive affair. The cardinal rule to make it last longer is taking extra precautions like switching to a sulfate-free shampoo and avoiding chlorine and salt. You’ll have to be extra cautious whenever you’re in the vicinity of a pool or an ocean.

Finally, are keratin treatments worth the hype? Not when you consider the risks.  They can have adverse effects on hair health and have no therapeutic benefit. You’ll also notice that once the treatments wear off, your hair might never regain its original structure and may be altered beyond repair.

The risks involved in these treatments may not be worth the short-term benefits. It would be a much wiser decision to draw up a good hair care routine and invest in products that are less harmful and more beneficial in the long run. Check out iluvia’s official website for luxury hair care that is vegan, free from sulfates and parabens, and cruelty-free! The ingredients we use are naturally-derived and 100% safe for use.

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