The Good, The Bad, & The Scary of The Brazilian Keratin Treatment
One reader asks: Keratin treatments to straighten natural hair... healthy? unhealthy?
SoVAiN answers: Thanks for asking this questions! The short answer is they are NOT healthy for your hair. These treatments contain formaldehyde (a human carcinogen) and can cause shortness of breath, nose bleeds, bleeding from the eyes...and yes....cancer. More information can be found on the formaldehyde and its use in BKT treatments in this OSHA Hazard Alert.
The best way to straighten your hair is to strengthen it with a natural protein based conditioner and deep condition with a moisturizing conditioner. Temporarily straighten your hair using a combination of stretching the hair and low heat ionic flat irons.
A good rule to live by is that anything that permanently or even semi permanently changes the protein structure of your hair (the curl pattern) is per se damaging to your hair. In this case, it can also be damaging to your health.
Follow up Question: I thought there were BKT treatments that did not contain formaldehyde?
SoVAiN Answer: Those treatments are deep conditioners, much like the SoVAiN Protein Repair conditioner. Keratin is a protein that bonds to strengthens the hair. In BKT treatments, it is the formaldehyde and not the keratin that straighten your hair. Hence, truly formladehyde free formulas will not give you the results you seek (though they will give you a great conditioning treatment). But if a treatment is claiming to straighten your hair....it contains formaldehyde.
There are many names for formaldehyde that distributors use in order to label the product as “formaldehyde free.” If you see any of the following ingredients on your hair products, you should exercise caution before using them: methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0. Again, these are outlined in more detail in the OSHA Hazard Alert.
If the stylist puts on gloves and a face mask for a "formaldehyde free" treatment....RUN!