Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Does Keratin Cause Hair Loss? Here’s the Lowdown

Does keratin cause hair loss?

Does Keratin Cause Hair Loss? Here’s the Lowdown

Unlock the secret to sleek, frizz-free hair with keratin treatments, but beware: is your quest for silky strands causing an unexpected price of hair loss?

In the quest for flawless and manageable hair, many individuals turn to the wonders of keratin treatments. These hair grooming treatments have gained immense popularity among both men and women, promising to transform frizzy, unruly locks into smooth, lustrous strands. In this pursuit, one name stands out: keratin treatments.

Imagine a lavish salon with shimmering mirrors and a serene atmosphere. The sound of the ceramic iron intensifies your experience, sealing the transformative effects into your hair. But amidst the allure lies a question that lingers in the minds of many: Does keratin cause hair loss?

Are there risks associated with the chemicals used in keratin treatments and improper application? Are certain hair types not compatible with keratin treatments? What are the potential long-term effects of repeated keratin treatments on hair health?

Let’s delve into the connection between keratin treatments and hair loss, hair breakage, or acne, revealing the potential drawbacks of this transformative process.

Demystifying the Science Behind Keratin Hair Treatment

Keratin is a fibrous protein in our hair, skin, and nails. It plays a crucial role in providing structure, strength, and protection to these tissues. In the context of hair care, keratin treatments involve the application of a liquid keratin formula to the hair, followed by the use of heat to seal it in.

To facilitate the bonding process, the hair is then exposed to heat, typically using ceramic irons set to a specific temperature. The heat helps to activate the chemical agent (formaldehyde or its derivatives), which cross-links the keratin proteins, creating strong bonds within the hair structure.

Keratin treatment bonds
Keratin creates a helical chain in the cortex via ionic, disulfide, and hydrogen bonds

Once the cross-linking process is complete, the hair is allowed to cool and set, effectively locking in the newly formed bonds. This process helps to reduce frizz, tame flyaways, and improve the overall texture and appearance of the hair.

By sealing the keratin with heat, the treatment aims to make the results long-lasting.

Does Keratin, This Seemingly Miraculous Elixir, Have a Darker Side?

While keratin itself is not harmful to the hair, the strong chemicals used in some keratin treatments can lead to scalp irritation, itching, and even hair loss sometimes. Excessive keratin deposition can cause build-up, making the hair dry and brittle.

Besides this, one particular ingredient often raises concerns: formaldehyde. This compound plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of these treatments by facilitating the bonding of keratin protein to the hair shaft, resulting in smooth and manageable locks.

However, extensive research has shed light on the potential risks associated with formaldehyde exposure.

Is Formaldehyde the Real Culprit in Keratin Treatment?

Scientific studies have classified formaldehyde as a known carcinogen, with the ability to cause or promote cancer development. During keratin treatments, formaldehyde’s interaction with the human body can lead to various adverse health effects.

Health Effects of Formaldehyde-containing Keratin Treatments

According to Food and Drug Administration, Individuals exposed to formaldehyde-containing keratin treatments have reported a range of health issues, including:

  • Eye irritation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash

Startling Findings from Scientific Studies

According to a 2014 study, a comprehensive analysis in South Africa analyzed various keratin brands available in the market, revealing that six out of seven products contained formaldehyde levels ranging from 0.96 percent to 1.4 percent.

These levels were five times higher than the recommended safe threshold of 0.2 percent.

A previous study in 2011 also detected elevated formaldehyde concentrations in four different keratin treatments.

Unsafe Formaldehyde Concentrations in Salons

Moreover, 2011 Investigations have also shown that formaldehyde concentrations in salons during the blow-drying and flat-ironing stages of keratin treatments far exceeded safe levels. Some levels reached as high as 3.47 parts per million (ppm), posing significant health risks.

Formaldehyde may not always be explicitly listed on product labels and can appear under alternative names, such as:

  • Aldehyde
  • Formalin
  • Methylene glycol
  • Methanal

Certain preservatives in keratin products, like benzylhemiformal or quaternium-15, can also release formaldehyde.

Hair Loss and Formaldehyde

Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde in keratin treatments may contribute to hair loss in some individuals. Hair loss occurs due to the harmful effects of formaldehyde on the scalp and hair follicles.

Individuals sensitive to formaldehyde are advised to avoid keratin treatments containing it. Formaldehyde-free alternatives, incorporating ingredients like glycolic acid, are gaining popularity and offer safer options for hair treatment.

Formaldehyde in keratin hair treatments

It’s advisable to choose reputable products and salons that prioritize your safety and minimize formaldehyde exposure.

The Risks of Improper Performance

Proper execution of keratin hair treatments is crucial to avoid potential hair loss and damage. When these treatments are not performed or done properly, adverse effects can arise, leaving individuals with less-than-desirable results.

Real-life accounts and salon-based experiences have revealed the dark side of keratin treatments when not executed with precision. Improper application techniques, excessive heat, or the use of harsh chemicals can unleash a cascade of hair woes. The dream of smooth, frizz-free hair can quickly transform into a nightmare of weakened, brittle strands.

Flat iron temperature during keratin

The heat also weakens the protein bonds that give hair its structure and strength. As a result, the hair becomes more prone to breakage and split ends. Additionally, the intense heat can damage the hair follicles, affecting their ability to produce new, healthy hair.

Regular Touch-Ups to Maintain Desired Results

The effects of keratin treatments gradually fade as the new hair grows out, necessitating periodic touch-ups to maintain the expected results, but beware! These touch-ups can unwittingly pave the path to future hair loss. Keratin treatments, while effective at taming frizz, can be harsh on delicate hair follicles, leading to weakened roots over time.

The frequent application of chemicals and high heat during touch-ups can take a toll on your strands, resulting in breakage, thinning, and ultimately, hair loss.

So, it’s essential to give your hair a breather and prioritize its health by allowing it to recover between treatments, or you may find yourself bidding farewell to your luscious locks down the road.

Read More: Why Does My Hair Get Greasy After One Day?

Stop Hair Loss After Keratin: Essential Precautions You Need to Know!

Keratin Treatment Infographic

After a keratin treatment, it is crucial to take certain precautions to minimize the risk of hair loss and maintain the health and strength of your tresses. Follow these guidelines to ensure optimal post-treatment care:

1 . Gentle Handling

Treat your hair with the utmost care, avoiding excessive pulling, tugging, or rough brushing. Use a wide-toothed comb or a brush specifically designed for detangling to prevent unnecessary breakage.

2 . Avoid Heat Styling

Refrain from using heat-styling tools such as straighteners, curling irons, or blow dryers for an extended period after the treatment. Excessive heat can weaken the hair shaft and lead to hair loss. Embrace natural hairstyles or opt for heat-free styling alternatives.

3 . Environmental Protection

Shield your hair from harmful UV rays by wearing a hat or using hair products containing SPF. Additionally, limit exposure to chlorine in swimming pools and saltwater, as they can cause dryness and damage. Rinse your hair thoroughly after swimming to remove any residue.

4 . Hydration is Key

Keep your hair well-hydrated by using moisturizing hair masks or deep conditioners at least once a week. These treatments replenish moisture, prevent brittleness, and promote overall hair health.

5 . Regular Trims

Schedule regular trims every 6-8 weeks to eliminate split ends and prevent them from traveling up the hair shaft. This practice will help maintain the integrity of your hair and reduce the chances of breakage or hair loss.

6 . A Balanced Diet

Consume a nutritious diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein to promote hair growth and strength from within. Include foods like leafy greens, fruits, lean meats, and nuts in your daily meals.

7 . Reduce Stress

Stress can contribute to hair loss, so incorporate stress-management techniques like exercise, meditation, or engaging in activities you enjoy. Prioritize self-care to promote overall well-being, which reflects in the health of your hair.

By following these precautions, you can safeguard your hair from potential damage and maintain the results of your keratin treatment while minimizing the risk of hair loss. Remember, healthy hair requires consistent care and attention.

Hair loss tenure after keratin treatment

Choosing the Right Shampoos and Conditioners for Keratin-Treated Hair

To maintain the health and longevity of your keratin-treated hair, it is essential to use mild shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for this hair type. Here’s why these products are crucial and how to select the right ones:

The Importance of Mild Formulations

Keratin-treated hair requires gentle cleansing to avoid stripping away the treatment’s benefits. Mild shampoos are free from harsh sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), which can be drying and damaging to the hair shaft. Look for sulfate-free options to maintain the hair’s natural moisture and prevent unnecessary hair loss.

Preserve the Keratin Treatment

Shampoos and conditioners formulated for keratin-treated hair are designed to prolong the effects of the treatment. These products contain ingredients that help seal in the keratin, ensuring its longevity and enhancing the smoothness and shine of your hair. Look for labels that mention “keratin-friendly,” “keratin-safe,” or “for keratin-treated hair.”

Hydrating and Nourishing Properties

Keratin-treated hair tends to be more susceptible to dryness and brittleness. Opt for shampoos and conditioners that provide deep hydration and nourishment, replenishing the hair’s moisture balance. Look for products infused with ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, or coconut oil, as they help restore the softness and elasticity of your hair.

Avoid Heavy or Silicone-Based Formulas

While it’s important to moisturize keratin-treated hair, be cautious of products that are too heavy or contain excessive amounts of silicone. These ingredients can weigh down the hair and cause buildup, leading to potential hair loss. Look for lightweight formulations that provide hydration without weighing the hair down.

Seek Professional Recommendations

If possible, consult your hairstylist or salon professional who treated the keratin. They can recommend specific shampoos and conditioners that work well with the particular keratin product used during your treatment. Their expertise will ensure you choose the most suitable products for your hair.

Hair TLC: Discovering Safe Alternatives Beyond Keratin

Concerned about the potential hair loss associated with keratin treatments? Fear not! There are plenty of formaldehyde-free alternatives that prioritize the health of your hair while still delivering fantastic results.

  • Cysteine Complex Treatment: A protein-based treatment that nourishes and strengthens the hair, Cysteine Complex is free from harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. It works to smooth frizz and promote a natural shine, leaving your hair healthier and more manageable.
  • Amino Acid Smoothing Treatment: This gentle and effective treatment harnesses the power of amino acids to relax the hair structure, reducing frizz and enhancing manageability. It improves the hair’s elasticity and overall health without the use of any harsh chemicals.
  • Plant-based Keratin Infusion: A safe and natural alternative to traditional keratin treatments, this plant-based infusion deeply penetrates the hair cuticle, providing nourishment and promoting a smooth, shiny finish. It contains no formaldehyde or harmful chemicals, making it ideal for those seeking a safer option.
  • Japanese Hair Straightening (Thermal Reconditioning): This method employs a combination of heat and specialized solutions to alter the hair’s structure, effectively straightening it. Unlike keratin treatments, Japanese hair straightening is formaldehyde-free, ensuring your hair remains healthy and strong.

Read More: 13 Best Alcohol-Free Hair Gels for Effortless Styles

Keratin Treatment: When to Consider It and When to Avoid It

When to Consider Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatments can be a suitable option for individuals seeking to manage frizz, improve hair texture, and enhance shine. This treatment infuses the hair with keratin protein, restoring its strength and resilience. It is especially beneficial for individuals with frizzy, dry, or damaged hair, as it helps in smoothing and rejuvenating the strands.

When to Avoid Keratin Treatment

1 . Fine or Thin Hair

People with fine or thin hair should be cautious about keratin treatments. The treatment’s heavy formulation can weigh down the hair, resulting in a flat and limp appearance. Instead, they can explore lighter hair treatments or products designed specifically for their hair type.

2 . Sensitive Scalp or Allergies

Some individuals may have sensitive scalps or allergies to the chemicals used in keratin treatments. The formaldehyde or other ingredients present in the treatment can cause adverse reactions, leading to scalp irritation, redness, and even hair loss. Those with such sensitivities should avoid keratin treatments and opt for gentler, natural hair care alternatives.

3 . Recent Hair Coloring or Chemical Treatments

If someone has recently undergone hair coloring or other chemical treatments, it is advisable to avoid immediate keratin treatment. The combination of chemicals may result in excessive damage to the hair, leading to breakage and weakened strands.

4. Severe Hair Damage

If the hair is severely damaged, it’s essential to focus on repairing it before considering a keratin treatment. Applying the treatment to extremely damaged hair may exacerbate the issues, leading to further breakage and hair loss.

Final Verdict

Keratin treatments can provide temporary benefits in terms of smoother, more manageable hair. However, potential side effects, including hair loss, need to be considered. Understanding the scientific aspects, weighing the pros and cons, and following proper aftercare recommendations are crucial when deciding to undergo a keratin treatment.

To mitigate potential hair loss after a keratin treatment, it is advisable to take a break from further chemical or heat treatments. Prioritize your hair’s unique needs, including type, texture, and current maintenance routine, and ensure clear communication with your stylist for optimal results.

Consultation with a hair care professional or trichologist can provide personalized guidance and ensure the best possible outcome for your hair health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your go-to guide for all the common queries and concerns regarding keratin and hair loss. Find answers to understand how it works, its benefits, drawbacks, and more, helping you achieve the perfect mane.

Why won’t some hairstylists perform keratin treatments?

Some hairstylists choose not to perform keratin treatments due to concerns about the potential health risks associated with the chemicals used in certain treatments. They may prioritize the well-being of their clients and themselves.

Is Brazilian Blowout “formaldehyde-free”?

While some Brazilian Blowout products claim to be “formaldehyde-free,” independent studies have found that they may still contain significant levels of the chemical. It’s important to research and choose reputable brands that prioritize the safety of their products.

Is keratin treatment suitable for all hair types?

Keratin treatment can benefit a wide range of hair types, including frizzy, curly, and damaged hair. However, it is best to consult a trichologist or hair care expert to determine if the treatment is suitable for your specific hair type.

What are the risks to stylists and customers during keratin treatments?

Stylists and customers may be exposed to harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, during keratin treatments. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to various health issues, including eye and throat irritation, headaches, and respiratory problems.

Are there any natural alternatives to keratin treatment?

Yes, there are natural alternatives to keratin treatment, such as hair masks and treatments containing natural ingredients like argan oil, coconut oil, and shea butter. These alternatives can help improve the condition and appearance of the hair without the use of chemicals.

Does keratin treatment cause dandruff?

There is a common misconception that keratin treatments cause dandruff. However, dandruff is not directly caused by keratin treatments. Dandruff is often the result of a fungal infection or an imbalance in the scalp’s natural oil production and improper scalp hygiene.

Are there any long-term benefits to keratin treatments?

While keratin treatments can provide temporary benefits, such as smoother and more manageable hair, there is no scientific evidence to support long-term benefits in terms of hair growth or overall hair health. The primary purpose of keratin treatments is to improve the appearance and texture of the hair.

Is it necessary to use specific hair care products for keratin-treated hair?

While it’s not mandatory to use specific hair care products, using products designed explicitly for keratin-treated hair can help maintain the treatment’s longevity and ensure optimal results. Look for sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners that are gentle and won’t strip away the keratin coating. Additionally, avoid hair products containing sodium chloride, as it can dissolve the keratin from the hair.


At menhairline, we are committed to providing factual and high-quality information on all topics related to men’s hair and hair care. Our editorial policy is designed to ensure that we only provide information that has been verified by peer-reviewed research, well-known organizations, and medical associations. We always disclose the sources of our information and the methods used to gather it.

1 . According to Food and Drug Administration, Individuals exposed to formaldehyde-containing keratin treatments have reported a range of health issues

2 . 2014 study:

3 . 2011 study:

4 .

5 .

Ammar Riyar

Ammar Riyar

Ammar Riyar, an esteemed authority in men's hair care and grooming, boasts an impressive eight-year tenure within the hair industry. Apart from his expertise, Ammar is renowned as a long-hair model, serving as an inspiration for countless individuals seeking to enhance their personal grooming routines. Learn more...

Ammar Riyar

Ammar Riyar

Ammar Riyar, an esteemed authority in men's hair care and grooming, boasts an impressive eight-year tenure within the hair industry. Apart from his expertise, Ammar is renowned as a long-hair model, serving as an inspiration for countless individuals seeking to enhance their personal grooming routines. Learn more...


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});