Hair straighteners are popular styling tools used to achieve a sleek, smooth hairstyle. While they may seem harmless, using hair straighteners can have several potential side effects, including damage to the hair scalp, as well as an increased risk of cancer. In this article, we will explore the various side effects of hair straighteners and what steps can be taken to mitigate them.
Hair scalp damage
One of the most common side effects of hair straighteners is damage to the scalp and hair. When hair is exposed to high heat for extended periods, it can become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Additionally, heat can cause the hair cuticles to lift, which can make the hair appear dull and lifeless.
Furthermore, the heat generated by hair straighteners can also lead to scalp irritation and burns. This can cause itching, flaking, and even blistering. To minimize damage to the hair scalp, it is important to use heat-protectant products before styling and to not use the iron on a high setting.
Additionally, using the iron on dirty hair or when hair is too dry can make the damage much worse so it’s important to ensure the hair is clean and hydrated before using heat styling tools.
Increased Cancer Risk
In so many parts of the world, it is no longer news that chemical hair straighteners may cause uterine cancer. It is another potential side effect of hair straighteners. Studies have found that frequent use of flat irons on high heat can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, into the air. Formaldehyde can be inhaled, leading to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as potentially causing cancer.
While the risk of cancer from hair straighteners is considered to be low, it is still important to take precautions. To reduce the risk of formaldehyde exposure, it is best to avoid using hair straighteners in high-heat settings and to use flat irons that are formaldehyde-free. Additionally, it is recommended to keep the room well-ventilated while using hair straighteners and to avoid inhaling the fumes.
Other Side Effects
In addition to the damage to the hair scalp and an increased risk of cancer, there are several other potential side effects of hair straighteners. For example, frequent use of hair straighteners can lead to hair loss, and can also cause discoloration, specifically in blonde hair, because of the heat exposure.
Another side effect is that it can cause chemical changes to the hair. It can react to certain hair treatments like keratin or hair dye, which can result in hair color fading, thinning, or becoming more brittle.
What to do
- To avoid having your hair fried by the straightener, always use a heat protectant before straightening it.
- Aim to straighten your hair no more than twice per week. Avoid doing it every day.
- Use the low or medium heat setting on your styling iron.
- Don’t ever straighten wet hair because that’s the time when it is most fragile and likely to break.
- Each moment you wash your hair, condition it and oil it to replenish the moisture. Every 2 weeks, you could deep condition the hair to give it a lot of moisture.
- Every other week, use natural hair masks for moisturizing manufactured from coconut milk, yogurt, olive oil, and hone
While hair straighteners can be a useful styling tool, they can also have several potential side effects. From damage to the hair and scalp to an increased risk of cancer, it is important to be aware of the risks and to take steps to mitigate them. By using heat-protectant products, avoiding high heat settings, and using formaldehyde-free flat irons, individuals can reduce their risk of experiencing negative side effects from hair straighteners.
Finally, if you feel itchy, burns, blisters, or hair thinning, it is essential to stop using hair straighteners and seek medical attention.