What is Keratin?

What is Keratin?

Keratin is a protein and the major component in skin, hair and nails; in fact, the hair is mainly comprised of keratin-associated proteins. Keratin acts both as an external protective protein in the cuticle (the outer layers of a hair strand) and as an internal structural protein in the cortex (the inner core of the hair that helps determine its strength).

Keratin is depleted when hair is damaged physically, chemically and/or from environmental factors, such as the sun. This keratin loss exposes the hair’s cortex, making it susceptible to additional damage, and causes porous spots to develop—much like potholes in a road. Replenishing lost keratin helps to correct porosity and smooth the hair’s surface. It restores strength and elasticity, giving the hair a more youthful, healthy appearance.

Keratin Treatments How It Works

Keratin is a protein that is naturally found in hair. It is not, however, responsible for taming the frizz that this treatment is famous for. That job relies on the formaldehyde found in the formula.

It locks the chains of keratin proteins into a straight line, which leaves your hair nice and straight once the treatment is complete.

During the treatment, a stylist will apply a keratin product to your hair while she carefully avoids getting any on your scalp. The product remains in the hair as it’s blow-dried and then flat-ironed.

There are many versions available to salons and some contain more formaldehyde than others, while some newer treatments contain less harmful alternatives. Since formaldehyde is a gas, it is most dangerous when it goes into the air and is inhaled. For this reason, some stylists wear masks as they do the treatment and they may have you wear one, too. Treatments are usually done in a location with extra ventilation as well.

The treatments usually take two hours or longer, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

Afterward, you may not be able to wash your hair for up to three or four days.

Different products will vary, so be sure to ask your stylist how long you need to wait before shampooing.

It is very important that you switch to a sulfate-free shampoo and avoid sprays designed to create beachy waves as well. Anything that contains sulfates or salt can counteract the frizz-free look the treatment provides and shorten the life of the straightener’s effects.

Writer: Julyne Derrick