The Dangers of Traditional Keratin Treatments and Alternative Options

This is an image of a stylist flatironing hair after performing a keratin treatment on their client. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Dangers of Traditional Keratin Treatments and Different Options Offered at Ippodaro Natural Salon”.

Are you tired of dealing with frizzy, unmanageable hair? Do you dream of having silky-smooth locks that are easy to style? If so, you've probably come across keratin treatments in your search for the perfect solution. These salon treatments promise to transform your hair, leaving it straight, shiny, and frizz-free. But before you book your appointment, it's crucial to understand the potential dangers lurking behind these seemingly magical treatments.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the truth about keratin treatments, uncovering the hidden risks that many people are unaware of. We'll explore the science behind these treatments, their impact on hair growth, their compatibility with different hair types, and their potential for causing damage. So, whether you're considering a keratin treatment or simply curious about the facts, buckle up and get ready to discover the truth about keratin treatments.

What Exactly is Keratin?

To understand the intricacies of keratin treatments, it's essential to first grasp the concept of keratin itself. Keratin is a structural protein found in our hair, skin, and nails. It plays a vital role in maintaining the strength and health of these structures, preventing breakage, heat damage, and frizz. This protein is also commonly used in styling products to strengthen hair.

The Misnomer: Keratin Treatments

Contrary to popular belief, keratin treatments are not actually treatments that infuse keratin into your hair. Instead, they are semi-permanent hair straightening treatments that aim to smooth frizzy hair and add shine. The name "keratin treatments" is a misnomer, as the primary mechanism behind these treatments is not the application of keratin itself.

The Chemistry Behind Keratin Treatments

To achieve straighter hair, a solution containing a formaldehyde derivative (more on this below) or a slightly safer alternative, glyoxylic acid, is applied to the hair. This solution breaks the bonds within the hair and then reseals them in a straighter position. The hair is blow-dried and sealed with a flat iron, resulting in sleek, straight locks that can last anywhere from three to six months.

The Hidden Dangers of Keratin Treatments

This is an image of three formaldehyde bottles, one up-close and in focus, the others are in the background and out of focus.. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Dangers of Traditional Keratin Treatments and Different Options Offered at Ippodaro Natural Salon”.

While keratin treatments offer numerous benefits (as stated below), it's crucial to be aware of the hidden dangers they pose. One of the primary concerns is the use of formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in many keratin treatments. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can have serious health consequences with prolonged exposure. Symptoms of formaldehyde exposure can range from watery eyes and skin irritation to more severe respiratory illness and even cancer. Additionally, the high heat required during the treatment process can cause damage to hair, particularly if it is already fine or damaged. It's important to consider these risks carefully and explore alternative treatments (discussed below) that may be more suitable for your hair type.


The Benefits of Keratin Treatments

Keratin treatments offer several benefits that make them attractive to individuals seeking smoother, more manageable hair. These treatments help reduce frizz, boost shine, and minimize the appearance of split ends by temporarily bonding the hair back together. While the hair may not actually grow faster, the reduction in breakage gives the illusion of increased hair growth. Additionally, keratin treatments make hair more manageable by smoothing down the cuticle and sealing it, preventing frizz and allowing it to retain its length.


Compatibility with Different Hair Types

One of the great advantages of keratin treatments is their versatility. They work well on most hair types, including curly hair. For individuals with natural curls, keratin treatments can effectively smooth frizz and add shine. The treatment can also help reflect light more easily, resulting in noticeably shinier hair.

Just keep in mind that this is an allusion!


Keratin Treatments vs. Japanese Treatments and Relaxers

While keratin treatments may seem similar to other hair straightening treatments, such as Japanese treatments or relaxers, there are distinct differences. Keratin treatments are a less harsh option compared to relaxers, making them great for individuals with frizzy hair who desire long-term straight and smooth hair. The chemicals used in keratin treatments are typically gentler than those found in other straightening treatments. Relaxers, on the other hand, permanently break down the molecular bonds in the hair, resulting in permanent straightening.

This is terrifying given the fact keratin treatments are already dangerous. So definitely avoid Japanese treatments and relaxers!


The Duration of Keratin Treatments

Once you've undergone a keratin treatment, it's important to follow specific guidelines to ensure its longevity. The cardinal rule is to avoid water and ponytails for at least three days after the treatment. This helps prevent any bends or kinks from forming in your newly-straightened hair. To maintain the treatment for as long as possible, it's recommended to use a sulfate-free shampoo when washing your hair. For individuals with natural curls, it is advised not to wet your hair for three days after the treatment. Sodium chloride-free hair products and wrapping your hair in a silk or satin scarf can help retain moisture and prevent the treatment from drying out your hair. While keratin treatments can last up to six months, it's important to note that they may permanently impact your curl pattern.


Alternative Options Offered at Ippodaro Natural Salon

This is an image of the Oway Hstraighten formula nicely staged with a white background, and natural features. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Dangers of Traditional Keratin Treatments and Different Options Offered at Ippodaro Natural Salon”.

Here at Ippodaro Natural Salon, we do have alternative options to traditional keratin

    • SAFE Keratin Treatments
    • Oway Hstraighten
    • Thermal Straightening
    • Thermal Straightening Retouch

    That said, let’s dive into our go-to treatments! Fun fact, we have two options and they can actually keep curly hair in tact (as many people with curly hair opt for keratin treatments in order to combat frizz). The coolest thing about the treatments listed below is that they help those with curly hair significantly cut down on styling time if an individual does choose to straighten their hair for the day!


    The Oway Hstraight Hair Treatment

    This incredible treatment allows you to rock your natural waves, making them appear both looser and slightly straighter than normal, all while combatting frizz! 

    Unlike keratin treatments the Oway Hstriaght Hair Treatment 100% free of formaldehyde. Instead, it has glyoxylic acid which helps repair the hair shaft!

    • Key ingredients:
      • Dock — this plant is loaded with iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium that helps to replenish the capillary fiber with minerals. Thanks to its Vitamins A and C, it offers energy and antioxidant protection. At Oway, the farm dock using their own “Biodynamic Farming” (the purest farming technique that completely excludes the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers). 
      • Mullein: this progressively increases hair shine, getting shinier each treatment, thus making hair look younger and healthier. 
      • Date: Helps protect the hair from external aggressive agents. Additionally, dates brings moisture and restructuring to the hair.
      • Glyoxylic acid : this is a reconstructive ingredient that impacts the hair fiber while protecting the hair surface which helps smooth the hair. 


    Since the ingredients used in the Oway Hstraighten are so clean, the treatment protects individuals from fumes that cause watery eyes and and an itchy nose! Ultimately, compared to traditional keratin treatments, the Oway Hstriaghten is better for your hair, your health, and the environment!


    The Oway Smoothing Treatment

    This dreamy treatment will allow you to rock your waves while significantly minimizing frizz. Additionally, the Oway Smoothing Treatment mositurizes your hair, helps you to cut down on the overuse of hair products, and lasts 4-6 months!


    The Oway Smoothing Treatment is perfect for those who live in humid, rainy environtments (like we do here in San Antonio, Texas). Humidity equals frizz! So with the Oway Smoothing Treatment, you can so goodbye to that unruly frizzy hair. 


    Keratin treatments have gained immense popularity for their ability to transform frizzy, unmanageable hair into sleek, straight locks. However, it's crucial to approach these treatments with caution and awareness. The use of formaldehyde and the potential for damage should not be taken lightly. Before booking a keratin treatment, it's essential to research the specific products and techniques used by the salon and consider alternatives that may be less harmful. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your hair's unique needs and your commitment to maintaining its health and vitality. Remember, beauty should never come at the expense of your well-being. 


    Pro Tip:
    To determine the safety of specific treatments, ask your stylist if you can read the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle. Watch out for methylene glycol, methanal, methanediol, and formalin as all of these are formaldehyde-releasing chemicals.

    For more information, check out this resource from OSHA!
    For the month of November, 2023, all of our smoothing treatments are $10 off! Book your appointment today!