Does Keratin Cause Hair Loss? [The Risks & After Care]

lady holding her damaged hair

Does Keratin cause hair loss, and what can you do about it? 

Keratin hair treatments are truly Godsent for frizzy-haired people like me!

But the downside is it can take quite a toll on your beautiful head of hair. (Insert sad emoji) 

If you’re new to this treatment for hair, let’s start with what is Keratin treatment, and I’ll talk about whether or not you should get it. 

Why Does Keratin Cause Hair Loss?

“Can keratin cause hair loss?” Yes. It absolutely can, and there are three main reasons why it happens, which I will go into detail below.

Keratin chemical treatments can flatten out frizzy hair strands and provide smooth hair for three months. But they come with certain side effects: hair loss being at the top of the list. 

Keratin generally refers to the structural protein that forms our hair follicles. (1) 

Keratin from chicken feathers or other animal sources extracted using chemical methods, either in the intact form or its hydrolyzed product, has been used in commercial cosmetic products. 

So, why does keratin make your hair fall out? Here’s why. 

1. Overheating Of The Hair 

lady getting a salon treatment

To seal your hair bonds with Keratin, your hair stylist will use a blowdryer and a hair straightener on high heat. This usually causes intense hair breakage and excess hair loss. 

Nunzio Saviano, hairstylist and owner of the Nunzio Saviano Salon, says, “If too much heat is applied or they over-straighten your hair, it will dry out your hair faster than normal and cause breakage.” (2) 

2. Using Low-Quality Hair Products

Not all Keratin hair products are built equally. You usually get what you pay for, so if you’re using a low-quality treatment for hair, you will probably end up with damaged hair. 

Paul Labrecque, a professional hairstylist, says – “When you pay more, you’re usually paying for a very skilled technician who can feel your hair and know what’s on it and what formula should be picked for your needs and hair type.” (3) 

For your hair health, make sure you’re using good products. 

3. Using Toxic Chemicals

Person holding a woman's blonde straight hair

Most Brazilian keratin treatments contain harsh chemicals such as Formaldehyde. This chemical has several potential side effects, including but not limited to hair loss over time. 

Formaldehyde can cause harmful effects such as eye irritation, sore throat, and vomiting. It can also cause cancer over time. (5)

Because you affect your scalp health with the chemical, it can result in excess hair loss. 

Is Keratin Bad For ALL TYPES Of Hair?

Yes, and No. Keratin, in itself, is a natural protein that protects the hair from environmental damage. But, synthesized treatment can make your hair dry, brittle, and damaged. 

There are several Keratin side effects to keep in mind before you embark on your quest to achieve smoother hair. See, there is a price to pay, and you may not always like the results. 

The adverse effects of carcinogenic Formaldehyde deplete not only your health but also your hairstylist. This is why some hair salons won’t even do the treatment anymore. 

T. Cooper, NYC-based hairstylist says, “Some stylists refuse to do keratin treatments because there is research that shows that continued use of formaldehyde over time can have some serious consequences.” (4) 

You get smoother hair for longer, and you don’t have to use heat tools on your hair as much after getting the keratin chemical treatment. But do the pros outweigh the cons? 

I don’t think so! So, is keratin treatment good for hair loss? Absolutely not. You may love watching this video that talks about keratin treatment hair loss recovery simply and effectively. 

How To Stop Hair Loss After Keratin Treatment?

So, by now, you know the potential side effects of this chemical procedure. But, if you have simply unmanageable hair and must undergo treatment, then here are some ways in which you can reduce hair loss. 

1. Don’t Overdo It 

The semi-permanent effects of the treatment will wash off after about 3 months or 12-15 washes. After it’s gone, you may be tempted to go and get another treatment as soon as possible.

But, it is best to wait out a few months to let your hair recover before going in for another dose. Take some time between procedures for the best results. 

2. Take Care Of Your Diet

a woman having a balance diet

You are what you eat. Literally! And your hair health will depend solely on what you’re putting into your body. 

To make your hair stronger and keep it that way, fuel your body right with nutrients. Eating protein-rich food has been shown to decrease hair loss. 

3. Steer Clear Of Heat

Your hair has suffered enough heat styling when getting the procedure done. Flat ironing at a high temperature puts your hair at the risk of damage and loss. 

After the treatment, it may be best to steer clear of all heat styling tools and just let your hair breathe. Keeping your hair heat-free for as long as possible can contribute to stronger hair. 

4. Avoid Stressing The Hair 

model showing her perfect middle part blowout straight hair

Do not tie your hair up in a tight ponytail or a bun after getting the treatment. It is best to leave the hair as it is and not stress the strands. 

“Can I comb my hair after keratin treatment?” Yes, you can. But make sure you aren’t combing your hair while it’s soaking wet. Let the hair be at least 70% dry before running a comb through your hair. 

How To Take Care of Keratin Treated Hair?

There are four tips that I’ve learned about taking care of keratin treated hair. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy, so let’s take a closer look.

1. Do Not Wash For 72 Hours

After getting the treatment, make sure you wait at least 72 hours before washing it off. Some formulas claim you can wash it in 24 hours, but for best results, it is best to wait at least three days. 

See, it takes some time for the Keratin to infuse with your hair follicles. And washing it all off before the infusion is complete can ruin all the hard work put in by your hairstylist. 

Your hair may look greasy, and you may feel dirty. Trust me, I’ve been there. But just wait it out. It’ll be worth it! 

2. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner 

washing hair thoroughly

The most important thing you need to maintain your Keratin-treated hair is using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.

Using products with sulfate can strip away all the infused Keratin. Meaning your hair will return to its natural texture sooner than the three months are up. 

Your hair stylist will probably recommend a shampoo in the same range as your treatment. It may be more expensive than your regular shampoo, but you will need it if you wish to keep the treatment for longer. 

3. Use Silk Or Satin Pillow Covers 

Cotton and other fabrics can be quite abrasive on your hair, causing static and frizz. To combat that, you can use a silk or satin pillow cover instead. 

Since I switched to a silk pillow cover, my hair is so much better, and I feel sort of luxurious, as if I’m sleeping in a royal bed. You feel? 

If silk pillow covers aren’t your thing, consider investing in a silk or satin bonnet instead and place it over your head when you sleep. Simple. 

4. Keep Scalp Sweat-Free 

The key to maintaining your tresses after a salon treatment is to keep the scalp as sweat-free as possible. 

I understand that this may be difficult for extremely physically active people or if you’re living in a super humid location. 

pretty lady showing her techniques on how to blow dry thin hair for volume

But, you can opt to blow dry your hair after every workout sesh and after excessive sweating from the scalp. It’s also important not to overwash the hair, which is why blow drying may be a better option. 

I usually blow-dry mine upside down, so I not only get rid of the sweat but also build some volume. Win, win! 

You also might want to straighten your hair after treatment. Look for the best flat iron for keratin treatment to ensure you keep damage to a minimum.

FAQs

Does Hair Grow Back After Keratin Treatment?

Yes, hair will grow back after a keratin treatment, but it can take time depending on the severity of the damage. If you get hair loss or even thinning, take it as a sign that you should avoid the treatment in the future.

Can You Dye Hair After Keratin Treatment?

9 ladies achieved different hair colors using Color-Depositing Conditioners

Yes. But make sure to wait at least two weeks after getting a salon treatment for your hair wellbeing. It’s best to dye your hair before the keratin chemical treatment for the best results. 

How Long To Wait To Wash Hair After Keratin Treatment?

It is best to wait at least 72 hours before a hair wash to ensure the Keratin hair protein synthesis is complete. Washing hair before that may wash away all the Keratin bonds in the hair. 

Can Keratin Treatment Be Done On Fine Or Thin Hair?

Yes, but thin-haired people may not benefit from the treatment. In fact, their hair may look thinner and limp. 

Does Keratin Treatment Work For Thin Hair?

a woman thinking of something

Yes, it does. The purpose of the treatment is to create a moisture barrier and provide sleek hair. But, people with thin hair fibers may experience a dramatic loss in hair thickness which may not look great. 

Can Keratin Shampoo Damage Your Hair?

Using Keratin shampoos can help you achieve shiny hair without damage. But it can cause irreversible damage to human health since it contains cancer-causing toxic chemicals. 

Conclusion

I hope you now have your answer to “Does keratin cause hair loss?” and “how to stop hair fall after keratin treatment?”

You get shinier hair after undergoing this semi-permanent hair straightening treatment for three months. But you also risk losing your beautiful hair. 

And formaldehyde exposure is not a joke, you guys. Inhalation of any levels of formaldehyde can cause irreversible damage, and you don’t want that. 

Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend the treatment to anyone, but if you must get it, do make sure to get a formaldehyde-free treatment and not overdo it. 

lady shocked with hair loss

Resources: 

  • 1. Basit A, asghar F, Sadaf S, Akhtar MW. Health improvement of human hair and their reshaping using recombinant keratin K31. Biotechnology Reports [Internet]. 2018;20:e00288. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218806/
  • 2. Are Keratin Treatments Bad for You? [Internet]. Byrdie. Available from: https://www.byrdie.com/keratin-treatment-side-effects
  • 3. Krieger L. 6 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Keratin Treatment [Internet]. Allure. Allure; 2016 [cited 2019 Nov 22]. Available from: https://www.allure.com/story/keratin-treatments-dangers-benefits
  • 4. Staff HB. Everything You Need To Know About Keratin Hair Treatments [Internet]. Harper’s BAZAAR. 2021. Available from: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/hair/advice/a1266/how-keratin-damages-hair/
  • 5. National Cancer Institute. Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk [Internet]. National Cancer Institute. Cancer.gov; 2011. Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet