Does Chemical Straightening Harm Hair?

Published: 07th January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2015 12:47 AM   |  A+A-


BENGALURU: Straight hair seems to be the new trend and everyone seems to be running after frizz-free hair that cascades straight down one’s back. Dermatologists say  getting this beautiful hair may not necessarily be harmless. People who fall prey to advertisements and go in for hair straightening products and treatments complain of hair fall and often contact allergic dermatitis. “They feel irritation on the scalp sooner or later and have redness and itching. This leads to hair loss. In some cases there could even be up to 90 per cent hair loss,” warns Dr Praveen Rodrigues, consultant dermatologist, Vikram Hospital.

Generally, using any external and unnatural agent on the body may lead to possible side effects. Hair straightening is no exception. The different methods of hair straightening include direct heat and harsh chemicals which may prove dangerous at times. One cannot blindly trust the product being used by hair stylists. While applying chemicals for the first time, you can never rule out the possibility of an allergic reaction.

It is often seen that stepping out in the sun with straightened hair may also cause damage to hair health mainly because of the harmful UV rays. This is largely because of the chemicals in the hair products which might react adversely when exposed to direct sunlight. “Therefore, it is extremely important to check the products that are used in the procedure, Consult experts in the field before going in for such products,” opines Dr Rodrigues.

Side effects

Dr-Praveen-Rodrgues.jpgAllergy or other types of reactions are commonly associated with hair straightening. In certain cases, the side effects may appear immediately after the treatment or a few days later. Some of the allergies due to hair straightening include itchiness on skin and scalp, redness of the scalp, rashes, itching of the eyes and red eyes. A person should consult a doctor immediately if such symptoms are seen after using hair styling products.

The clinical side effect of hair straightening could be severe hair fall. Many people, who have straightened their hair, have experienced the same. Use of poor quality chemicals and improper technique while using the straightening iron breaks the hair from the roots.

In the long term, the hair follicles become weak and hair fall continues. Once a person straightens his or her hair permanently, it is very difficult to change the hairstyle again. In case of temporary straightening too, wearing a different style becomes impossible at times.

Keratin care and hair dye

Keratin is an essential component of hair. It is a protein formed by the combination of 18 amino acids in the hair. Chemicals in hair straightening creams and silicon-based hair dyes may damage Keratin. This will damage the hair and eventually result in loss of the same.

Dr-K-Hanumanthayya.jpgDr K Hanumanthayya, consultant for Vydehi Medical College and Hospital, says that hair allergy and hair loss may cause low self esteem and destroy the confidence of a person.

Hair dye has paraphenylene diamine and paratoluene diamine chemicals which may cause redness, irritation and allergic dermatitis. “A patch test is done after such symptoms appear and the patient is treated accordingly. Dermatologists never recommend hair straightening products or dyes especially for diabetes patients as it may lead to complications,” said Dr Hanumanthayya.

Expert tips

 Dr Hanumanthaya suggests

natural methods for keeping hair healthy and smooth:

  •    Mix coconut milk with
  •    lemon juice and keep in fridge for two hours. Apply the mixture over your scalp, keep for an wash   with a mild shampoo.
  •    Mash a banana and papaya, add a table spoon of honey and mix well. Apply over scalp, keep for an hour  and wash.
  •    Mix milk, honey and strawberries together and apply over scalp. Wash with lukewarm water.
  •    Mix coconut oil and olive oil. Heat the mixture and apply it regularly for 15 days and wash it off with a mild shampoo.
  •   Satvika ahara (simple food) like fruits, butter milk, yogurt, vegetables and simple exercise and good hygiene bring stress levels down, give a positive attitude and boost the health of your hair.


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