Saturday, September 29, 2007

Curly Hair or Cancer?

Like most women with curly hair, my crazy curly hair and I have a love-hate relationship (yes, hate rules on most days). I usually attempt to straighten my hair into submission or put it up into a ponytail or bun on bad weather days. Frankly, after seventeen years of fighting with my hair (I used to have stick straight hair when I was little), I am getting a little exhausted from the amount of time I spend loathing it each day.

Naturally, I was ecstatic when I learned about a revolutionary new hair straightening treatment called the Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT) a few months ago. The treatment is somewhat similar to the japanese rebonding treatment that created a craze a few years back. Unlike rebonding, however, the BKT claims to use keratin (a type of protein already found in the hair) instead of chemicals to naturally smooth and straighten the hair. Plus, the BKT is supposed to be somewhat cheaper than rebonding and the New York Times even wrote an article on its amazing results. Despite my excitement, I decided to wait a while to see if the BKT was really up to its hype, and I am glad I did.

This morning, in the latest issue of Allure, I read that the BKT not only uses keratin to smooth the hair but also uses formaldehyde to straighten. Formaldeyde, however, is thought to be a carcinogen by a number of health and safety agencies both in the U.S. and overseas. Apparently, the use of it in the BKT releases noxious fumes that the customer inhales during the treatment.
Despite the fact that there are no conclusory studies as to the safety or danger of the BKT, I am not risking a treatment that may cause the inhalation or absorption of a potential carcinogen. It did make me wonder to what extent women who know about this risk are still willing to try the treatment because of the results it provides. The before and after pictures on the website are certainly tempting.

Now I am over my excitement of the BKT and have run back home to the curly hair. We are learning to love each other....


  1. Interesting. Thanks also for the insightful comment on BKT. Yes, the race for beauty sometimes freezes our brains and we bypass the safety bit. I have straight hair and have always fancied wavy hair that sits like a mane on my head. That dream never came true, but my 16 month old has curly hair. huh? Bet, he will wish for straight hair when he grows up. what's that saying...grass greener...??

  2. Hi, I'm glad you are doing your homework. Now you might want to take a look at the nanokeratin treatment. Is the same concept without the sealing agent of such a harsh chemical. I remember when the media jumped to say that hair dyes will cause cancer due to the PPD factors. Not one woman dead yet from a color service. However the professionals in the industry know to protect themselves from fumes and so on. Example of this is the airbrush tanning lotions, the fumes of this product are strong and casue allergies. while much better than sitting in front of a UV lightbulb to fry your skin. So far I have been on this topic about BKT for the past five months and all I get in return from New York to California and here in the Carribean is how,where and when cat I get it. The Japanse straightener damaged many a head from bad applications the keratin treatment hasn't. All together I'm a believer and can count on delivering predictable results that are consintent. If you are too worry about it, cover your nose.


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