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5 min read

How keratin affects your hair health: The good, the bad, & the patchy

How keratin affects your hair health: The good, the bad, & the patchy

Keratin is the protein that essentially makes your hair. In fact, it makes up 90 percent of each strand. It provides the hair with structure.

Basically, if you are looking to improve the strength of your hair, better moisturize, or promote growth, your first stop should be keratin. Without keratin, your hair is unable to resist the breakdown associated with everyday wear-and-tear.

Keratin allows your hair to bend and fold without breaking. The elasticity and insolubility of keratin allow it to protect your hair from most of what nature throws at it.

Its insolubility, in particular, allows it to withstand high heats and low temperatures (for the most part). Of course, you can overdo it, and that is when the problems begin.

Beautiful Hair vs. the World

When your hair is damaged through chemical exposure, environmental damage or over-styling, the keratin proteins are affected most. The visible damage you see is because these proteins have been damaged.

The structure of keratin consists of fibrous bundles made from intermediate filaments. These are tough, insoluble and create a strong tissue that is hard to destroy.

As this protein is naturally found in hair, keratin is the number-one ingredient for many hair treatments. And because it is non-permeable, its protective role is limited to the outer surface of hair cells.

Keratin can help to heal dry, cracked hair by filling in the cracks along the hair cuticle, giving structure and strength back to each strand.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Due to its potential for healing, keratin is frequently used in hair treatments. Unfortunately, the ingredients involved in these treatments, combined with the high heat required for the technique, often do more damage than good.

Your hair will look smooth and silky, but at what cost?

Salon keratin treatments involve a mixture of keratin protein and formaldehyde. The mixture is applied to your hair with a flat iron to seal the protein into your hair.

You get a temporary fix to the frizzy, fly-away hairs, but over time the formaldehyde could be increasing your risk of developing cancer.

In addition to the harsh chemicals, the intense heat needed to seal the proteins into each cuticle is dangerous.

The required heat reaches temperatures similar to what you would roast a turkey in. Does it really sound like a good idea to expose your delicate hairs to such a roasting?

These keratin treatments often go hand-in-hand with hair loss because of these extreme heats.

To Use Keratin or Not…

When your hair is unable to produce enough keratin proteins, your hair quality suffers. Mutated hair follicles known as keratinocytes affect keratin production and cause damage to your hair.

Your body is pretty good at detecting these defective hair strands and the follicle will be removed. These mutant hairs appear (and are eliminated) gradually, but real hair loss will be visible as the process continues.

If you need keratin to maintain hair strength and health but keratin treatments can damage your hair, what are you to do?

The best solution is to increase the keratin you consume in your diet and deliver help from within. The food sources containing the most keratin include sweet potatoes, mangoes, spinach, broccoli, and eggs.

The best hair care approach is a well-rounded one.

As important as keratin is, the protein is more effective when other vitamins and minerals are also present. Magnesium, sulfur, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and E are all essential for promoting hair health.

A diet rich in all of these will guarantee healthy and strong hair. This means you can avoid dangerous keratin treatments.

You can also use shampoos containing keratin. If you choose this route, make sure you get a shampoo and conditioner that are both sulfate-free and also contain biotin and zinc.

The combination of these ingredients boosts hair strength much better than when used in isolation. Avoiding sulfates will keep your hair free from chemicals, and your risk for cancer low.

Keratin proteins also help to thicken your hair. This makes sense when you consider the fact that a lack of keratin causes thinning.

The protein bonds to the edges of each hair cover it completely and promote shine, strength, and thickness. Your hair needs it but in natural form.

To get the healthiest hair, get more keratin through food or your regular shampoo, and leave the heat in the salon.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

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    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP