At the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis understand the desire to have a healthy-looking head of hair. Many people put in extensive effort to get frizz-free, voluminous hair, stocking their cabinets with products and contributing to the tens of billions of dollars spent by Americans each year on beauty products. However, how can one know if the products purchased will fulfill their jobs of plumping hair strands, promoting growth, and reversing damage? What happens when products do just the opposite?
In the last year, reports of smoothing keratin products causing chemically induced hair melting and hair damage have been circulating news outlets. The products, marketed to prevent frizz and straighten hair, contained formaldehyde when labeled formaldehyde-free. Instead of following through on their promised performance, the products left dozens of women with thinned and broken hair. We believe Keratin treatments are not only dangerous for your hair, but may not be safe in general for healthy hair.
With millions using numerous products, the chances of a product causing you a problem is relatively small, however, if you do have a reaction to a product it will likely be very destructive. It’s important to understand the risks of a positive or negative change when using any new product. When testing new products, we advise using one new product at a time to properly discern if there is a problem or not before adding a second new product. We recommended a trial period of at least 2 weeks before adding another product. Products rarely cause hair loss by themselves, but subsequent loss from damage is common when products are improperly used or abused. With so many products available on the market, how can you avoid the damaging ones?
Pay attention to directions and ingredients. Though Keratin treatment users were warned of the aforementioned products possibility of negative counteraction with certain hair types, wishes for smooth, effortless hair overrode proper discernment. It’s important to not be oversold on the promises of hair care products. For example, overusing products with “thickening agents” to give the illusion of thicker hair causes the hair shaft to swell, leaving it susceptible to breakage. Avoid applying heavy products to the roots and work from the bottom up. Use caution when selecting new hair care products and ask a hair specialist for advice on what products can aid in reaching your individual hair goals.
Steer clear of too many ingredients. Ingredients such as alcohol and sulfates dry the hair, making it more prone to breakage. Additionally, sulfates not only cause drying, but damage the hair shaft directly. Over-styling with hair sprays, styling gels, and holding creams can weigh down hair when used in your daily hair styling routine, drying and weakening the hair. Weak hair is more likely to split and thin out. Over brushing or using harsh destructive combs leads to more breakage than drying products do. To protect the hair cuticle and provide desired shine, seek products containing dimethicone.
Give it a rest. Make an effort to wear hair naturally for at least one to two days per week. If you must heat style, use a protectant spray or cream to ward off breakage.
Say goodbye to dye. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that hair dye is known to sometimes cause temporary hair loss as well as irritated skin. Hair dye is laden with harmful chemicals that cause extensive hair breakage and decrease in hair quality. Unlike pattern baldness, hair will regrow once usage slows or is stopped altogether. Fortunately, most damaging hair dyes have been removed from the market. We recommend adding an additional week between what your stylist recommends for hair processing sessions to lessen the overall exposure through the year to hair products and chemicals.
Embrace your natural style. Permanent treatment such as perms for curly hair can cause damage when an untrained person leaves the perming solution on the hair for too long or is too strong. Avoid damage by opting for your natural style or choosing a more experienced stylist.