Can Keratin Treatments Make You Sick?

young woman with long hair(BlackDoctor.org) — You love that straight, glossy look that can last for months. But did you know that brazilian keratin treatments, according to various government reports and warnings, may actually be hazardous to your health?

How Brazilian Keratin Treatments Work

The Brazilian keratin treatment involves soaking the hair with a cocktail of keratin and oils to form a hard outer shell around the cuticle, which helps strands hold their new shape. The treatment works on all types of hair—even damaged or chemically treated tresses, says Dror Kraft, a stylist and treatment specialist at Pierre Michel Salon in New York City, who has been performing the service for several years.

Formaldehyde: The Toxic Chemical Culprit

The solution doesn’t alter your hair – instead, it locks in the temporary straightening results with formaldehyde—a chemical used in low levels in household cleaners, hand soaps, glue, and synthetic fabrics. “In higher concentrations formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems, skin allergies and irritation, and sometimes even cancer,” says Richard Parent, a board-certified toxicologist in Damariscotta, Maine. “And most—but not all—salon keratin treatments produce varying amounts of it,” says Wilson.

Formaldehyde is released during the final stage of the treatment process. Once a keratin-based complex is applied, the stylist flatirons the hair, “freezing” the new texture into place. When that happens, the heat from the iron sends fumes into the air.

How Harmful Is The Treatment?

After stylists began complaining about nosebleeds, eye irritation, and breathing problems after chemical exposure, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) decided to investigate. It tested samples of keratin treatments with the air quality in various salons. The report indicates that some solutions, like Brazilian Blowout, despite being marketed as “formaldehyde-free,” contained up to 10 percent of the preservative (according to OSHA, a “safe” product should contain no more than 0.1 percent formaldehyde).

What’s Being Done To Protect You?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited reach in protecting consumers at salons. “It doesn’t review cosmetics for safety or effectiveness before they go on the market. However, manufacturers do bear responsibility for making sure their products are safe to use,” says Siobhan DeLancey, a spokesperson at the FDA Office of Public Relations. One reason to breath easy: while some people might develop a sensitivity to the treatment, it’s unlikely that you’ll get sick from a few hours in the chair. Still, it’s a good idea to find a salon that offers Pravna Keratin Fusion, JK Smoothing Treatment, or Bio Ionic Kera Smooth—all with less than 0.1 percent formaldehyde. Or better yet, try Curl Interrupted, which has been independently tested to be free from the chemical.

What Should You Do To Better Protect Yourself?

Before you schedule any appointment, size up the salon. “Make sure the treatment is performed in a very well ventilated space,” says Paul Dykstra, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago and America’s Beauty Show. A smart owner will limit the days the salon offers the treatment so fewer people are exposed to the fumes. In addition to this, the stylist should wear a gas mask and always offer one to his or her client.

If you experience any skin irritation or breathing problems during or after the treatment, see your doctor immediately. “At the end of the day,” says Parent, “your health is more important than your hair.”

 

SHARE YOUR OPINION

Would you subscribe to a service where you can see a black doctor anytime via video chat for $19 a month?

Weight Loss Foods You Should Be Eating

Artichokes
(BlackDoctor.org) — By now, you probably already know that to lose weight, you need to exercise and eat right…and we’re putting a LOT of emphasis here on eating right!

You need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water, keep the sweets to a minimum, etc. You also need to eat proper portions of the right foods, particularly several servings of the rights fruits and veggies.

Why Fruits? Why Veggies?

Just why are fruits and veggies so important in weight loss success? Yes, they do contain the vitamins and nutrients that you body just can’t be its healthiest without. But they also contain fiber.

What’s the point of fiber? It helps you feel fuller, longer (translation: you’re less likely to overeat). Fiber also helps keep you regular and your insides clean (translation: you’ll be less bloated and your body will have fewer toxins swimming around trying to cause trouble). Most adults should aim for about 25 grams of fiber every day (though, per most studies, most Americans don’t even consume half that recommended daily value).

You already know some of the usual suspects, such as broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc. There’s nothing wrong with these choices, of course, but there are some other fiber-rich ones out there that you probably rarely even think about — but can help you reach your goals while adding some extra flavor to your life.

Foods That May Not Be On Your Culinary Playlist…But  Should Be:

Artichokes (1 large)
8 g fiber & 87 calories

Bet you didn’t know: Frozen artichokes have nearly as much fiber as fresh ones

Raspberries (1 cup)
8 g fiber  & 64 calories

Bet you didn’t know: These berries are high in cancer-fighting ellagic acid.

Pumpkin (1 cup pureed)
7 g fiber & 116 calories

Bet you didn’t know: Pumpkin is a rich source of alpha and beta carotene.

Brussels Sprouts (1 cup)
6 g fiber & 65 calories

Bet you didn’t know: Brussels sprouts also have more protein than most veggies (around 4 to 5 grams per cup).

Kiwi (1 cup)
5 g fiber & 110 calories

Bet you didn’t know: One kiwi provides 273 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

Pear (1 medium)
6 g fiber & 103 calories

Bet you didn’t know: Pears are high in soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol.

So, don’t neglect your old healthy faves, but definitely make room for some soon-to-be new ones!