What is Keratin?

keratinKeratin is a very strong protein that our hair, nails, skin and teeth are made out of. The amino acids with their unique properties are combined together to form keratin which can be hard and inflexible (like hooves) or soft like your skin. This depends on the levels of the various amino acids. Most of the keratin that we deal with everyday is actually dead. Our hair, skin, and nails are formed from dead keratin cells our body sheds regularly as new cells push up from underneath. If we are trying to keep these dead keratin cells in good condition, they will work as an insulating protecting layer for the delicate new keratin below them.

Keratin is almost non-dissolving due to cysteine disulfide it contains, which means Keratin can create disulfide bridges. These bridges form an extremely strong helix shape. Across the helix sulfur atoms bond to each other, creating a fibrous matrix that is not readily soluble. Depending on the concentration of cysteine disulfide in keratin, the bond can be very strong to make extremely hard cells like hooves, or it can be much softer to form flexible keratin like your hair and skin. These high levels of sulfur in keratin give a distinct sulfurous odor when Keratin is burned.

Keratin is formed by keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are living cells that make up a large part of your hair, skin, nails, and other parts of the body. These cells slowly push their way upwards, they die and form a protective layer of cells. Several thousands of them are shed every day, and this process may be accelerated by various medical conditions like psoriasis.  If the external keratin layer got damaged it may result in unhealthy of flaky look of skin, hair, and nails.

hairA lot of people complain about their hair and nails being dry and brittle. This happens because the dead keratin is being pushed to great lengths; but there’s a way to grow out your hair and nails and keep them healthy at the same time – eat food like gelatin and moisturize the hair and nails on regular basis.

Generally speaking, the thicker the layer of keratin, the healthier the hair or nails are; outside dead cells protect the living cells at the core. By moisturizing the external layer of keratin you will keep it healthy and also prevent it from cracking and splitting, whether the keratin is forming your nails, hair or skin.

How to Prepare for Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatments will provide you with smooth, sleek hair that you want with minimal effort. Those with curly and frizzy hair are flocking to the salons for this new treatment.

Already have an appointment? Prepare your hair properly, but first check with your hairstylist to find out about ingredients used in the keratin treatment to reveal any possible side effects.

Step 1

First thing you should do is to call your hairstylist and ask what exactly keratin treatment contains. A wide variety of keratin treatments contain formaldehyde that can cause skin, eye and lung irritation when inhaled and even induce cancer.  Ask your stylist for another treatment formula if you’re worried. Tell your stylist if you’ve used hair relaxers in the last six weeks. Ask your hairstylist if there is anything you need to do to prepare for the treatment. Different stylists may have you wash your hair or avoid washing your hair; they can advice using a specific type of shampoo in the week before your treatment, depending on the treatment formula and their own preferences.

Step 2

Nourish and moisturize your hair using a good hair mask about a week prior to the treatment. To seal the keratin treatment, your stylist will use a very hot flat iron. Moisturizing your hair will help you avoid hair damage and protect it from the within. Apply a moisturizing mask to towel-dry hair and tie your head in a plastic bag or towel.

Step 3

Wait at least 10-15 minutes allowing your hair mask to penetrate the hair deeply.

Step 4

Rinse out your hair with cool water. Switch to moisturizing shampoo (such as Davines MoMo moisturizing shampoo) next time you wash your hair. Avoid using oils or heavy conditioners at least two days before your scheduled keratin treatment, as it may disrupt the straightening process.

How Does Keratin Hair Treatment Work?

before-treatmentKeratin is a basic protein presented in our hair, skin and nails. Since the salon treatment is often called Keratin straightening treatment, consumers assume that keratin is related to straight hair, but this is not correct.

When Keratin Treatment for Hair is performed, a salon professional applies solution that instantly infuses the hair with keratin, repairing all damage and flaws within the hair. Keratin increases shine and reduces frizz, but does not directly straighten the hair itself as many people believe. After the application, the cocktail of various chemicals is added to your hair, and that creates the straightened effect by semi-permanently altering the hair’s structure.

In some keratin solutions the main component is Formaldehyde. This is a very dangerous chemical responsible for all the controversy regarding keratin treatments.  Some experts claim that exposure to formaldehyde increases risk of cancer. In some salons, customers and hairstylists are required to wear filtered-air masks during the process.

after-treatmentResults of keratin hair treatments may vary between consumers. Some of them are stating that the process works as promised and keeps their hair straight and smooth for several months, while others are not satisfied with the result of the treatment. Almost all of them are concerned about the exposure to dangerous chemicals such as Formaldehyde. For this reason several newer versions of the treatment have been created that do not use Formaldehyde at all.

You can find Keratin hair loss treatments available at many salons all around the world. Some of them offer promotional discounts when a new version of the keratin hair treatment arrives. Ask a hairstylist you trust to see before-and-after photos of customers who had the treatment done, and don’t be shy and ask about the chemicals used in the treatment, and available safety precautions.

For some clients a treatment that changes their hair for several months may be a big risk, but for others spending hours struggling with frizzy hair that refuses to straighten, keratin treatment for hair is a life-changing miracle.