"Hey Moptop, my boyfriend is taking me for a night out on the town and offered to get my hair done for me because he knows I have been looking in to the BKT. Question is...is this stuff bad for my health?"
Great question! We are always concerned about the effects chemicals have on our hair but sometimes we don't display that same level of caution when it comes to our health [myself included]. -- Often confused with a Brazilian Blowout [which does not contain chemicals], the Brazilian Keratin Treatment uses a special chemical solution geared to help loosen your curl pattern, eliminate frizz and leave your hair glossy and full of body for up to 4 months.
While many of us might be viewing this as a hassle free alternative to relaxers and thermal straightening techniques, it is important that we understand the risks associated with this treatment as well.
The Brazilian Keratin Treatment contains a carcinogenic [an agent known to cause cancer] by the name of Formaldehyde as most personal care products do* [see note at bottom]. The issue here is that the Brazilian Keratin Treatment contains 10x more Formaldehyde than what OSHA deems safe. Possible known side effects from exposure to this treatment are: headaches, hives, skin lesions, respiratory issues, sore throat, eye irritation, chest pain, shortness of breath and nosebleeds.
What does this mean for you?
To minimize your risks of side-effects, your stylist should only administer this treatment in a well ventilated area whilst wearing a mask [I would advice the client to wear a mask as well].
Children and women who are nursing or pregnant are not candidates for the treatment, and should not be in the vicinity while these treatments are taking place.
Are there Formaldehyde-Free versions?
Yes, there are Keratin treatments which are formulated without the addition of Formaldehyde. It is important to remember that since Formaldehyde is the actual ingredient that straightens the hair [and keeps it straight], any treatment formulated without it will only last until your next wash. This means that you will experience some of the same benefits with a shorter life span.
Not all bottles labeled "Formaldehyde-Free" are free of Formaldehyde!
Aside from just looking for "Formaldehyde" in the ingredient listing, keep an eye out for Formalin, Oxymethylene and Aldehyde as well.Often these BKT treatments contains the aforementioned ingredients which are simply derivatives of Formaldehyde.
I was assured that Aldehyde was safe!
Aldehyde is indeed a safer alternative to Formaldehyde at room temperature. The issue comes into play when you factor in the heat used during the flat iron process [which is needed to seal the chemicals on to the hair shaft]. Once heat is applied to Formaldehyde or any of it's derivatives, it turns into a vaporous gas that can be potentially harmful.
Should I go forward with the Brazilian Keratin Treatment?
I want to leave that choice up to you. I won't tell anyone not to get relaxers, color, or in this case the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. I will instead do my best to fully disclose the benefits and risks, and leave the final decision to you. If you decide to undergo this treatment, my recommendation is that you have the treatment performed at a reputable salon with proper ventilation methods [preferably a fume extractor] as fans oftentimes just aren't enough. I also recommend that you bring your own mask for extra precaution. - Also, if you have sensitive skin, or are prone to allergic reactions; I would speak with a dermatologist before attempting the BKT.
Have any of you out there tried the Brazilian Keratin Treatment? How did it work for you?
*Did you know small amounts of Formaldehyde are found in a lot personal care products as well? Items like nail polish, conditioners, soaps, cosmetics and shampoo's are all known to contain small amounts of Formaldehyde. Take a gander under the ingredient list on some of your beauty products and keep an eye out for Quaternium-15. Quaternium-15 is an anti-microbal preservative used by manufacturing companies to extend the shelf life of your products. While it keeps fungus and nasty bacteria at bay, it also releases Formaldehyde in the process; as Quaternium-15 is deemed a Formaldehyde-Releaser. Other known Formaldehyde-releaser's that are found in personal care products are:
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- DMDM Hydantoin
If you have sensitive skin, I recommend that you stay away from products containing those type of preservatives as they are known skin irritants.
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