Keratin Supplement Dangers

Written by melissa mccormick
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Keratin Supplement Dangers
Known for straightening curly hair, keratin supplements can also pose certain risks. (hair image by from

Keratin is a protein found in skin, hair, nails and teeth. Often times, dead Keratin causes nails and hair to become dry and brittle. Keratin supplements are promoted as a way to produce shiny, straight hair. However, while supplements such as the Brazilian Keratin Treatment can turn curly hair straight, they are also facing scrutiny for potentially causing health dangers.

Eye and Lung Irritation

While the treatment has been proven to be effective and lasts several months, according to The New York Times, lung and eye irritation has been reported when the formula is applied and some doctors recommend avoiding the treatment all together. During application of the treatment, fumes can cause lung and eye irritation and burning of sensitive areas such as the throat, nose and eyes. Once the initial treatment completed, fumes can also be released afterward during the first time the hair is dried, curled or straightened.

Keratin Supplement Dangers
Lung and eye irritation can result from keratin hair treatments. (eye image by Stanisa Martinovic from

Cancer Causing Chemical

Brazilian Keratin Treatments can also contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen or cancer causing substance. According to CBS News, "fumes are released when it is applied, posing potential risks to the customer, the person applying it, and even others in the vicinity." Dermatologists have also expressed concerns that the chemical can break down even after it is applied, causing further potential danger. According to a CBS News report, one death in Brazil was linked to the treatment.


While not necessarily a health risk, Keratin supplements can result in an unpleasant odour when applied, due to high sulphur levels. When heated or burnt this can cause a strong sulphuric smell. However, keratin supplements typically do not require heat when applied, so this side effect is rare.

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