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Keratin hair treatment: New research shows shocking side-effects even as experts urge caution

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- April 04th 2024 02:08 PM
Keratin hair treatment: New research shows shocking side-effects even as experts urge caution

Keratin hair treatment: New research shows shocking side-effects even as experts urge caution

Keratin hair treatment side-effects: Keratin hair treatments have long been favoured in the beauty industry for their promise of smooth, frizz-free locks. However, recent findings shed light on potential risks associated with these popular procedures, particularly those containing glyoxylic acid.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has unveiled a concerning link between keratin-based hair straightening products and acute kidney injury (AKI) due to the formation of oxalate crystals in the kidneys. As per a report in The Indian Express, Dr Urmila Anandh, Head of Nephrology at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, was reported as saying that while older formulations contained formaldehyde, the current use of glycolic acid in the Keratin hair treatment poses new risks.


"Glycolic acid metabolises into glyoxylic acid, eventually leading to oxalate formation and kidney damage," Dr Urmila Anandh said. Another study in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases further supports these findings, reporting severe AKI cases in individuals using hair-straightening products containing glycolic acid.

Although glycolic acid is also present in skincare products, its concentration in hair treatments raises greater concern. Dr DM Mahajan, Senior Consultant Dermatologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, advises precautionary measures during application, calling for proper ventilation and protective gear.

While the risk associated with glycolic acid skincare products is considered low, experts call for more comprehensive research on the impact of keratin treatments on kidney health. Dr Mahajan urges adherence to manufacturer instructions and consulting dermatologists before opting for these procedures.

Although glycolic acid is typically deemed safe for topical application, Dr DM Mahajan cautioned that "there is a potential for systemic absorption, particularly when used excessively or on compromised skin. Nonetheless, the risk associated with the standard, recommended usage of glycolic acid skincare products is deemed minimal, with no conclusive evidence linking it to kidney damage".

In light of these findings, consumers are advised to exercise caution, opt for certified salons, and limit the frequency of keratin treatments.

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