You must have heard about keratin – the protein that makes up the natural structure of hair! In fact, some of you might regularly go for keratin treatments at the salon, to ensure your hair remains strong and healthy. Keratin basically creates a protective barrier around the hair, thus keeping it soft, silky and smooth.
What are the benefits of keratin for hair?
- It refines the natural texture of the hair and boosts volume.
- Those with unmanageable hair can say goodbye to frizz and roughness, even when the weather is humid.
- Keratin coats the hair strands and protects from sun and environmental damage.
- This protein facilitates hair rebonding, while strengthening it, so strands are resilient to breakage.
And now we come to the problem!
Did you know keratin is depleted from the hair on a daily basis? It happens due to environmental factors and daily stressors, like heat styling, chemical services, dry or humid weather, aging, and other extreme conditions. If left unchecked, the continued keratin depletion can lead to extensive damage that result in dry, frizzy, dull, and brittle hair.
Are keratin treatments any good?
As mentioned above, keratin is a vital ingredient that is responsible for hair strength, elasticity, and health. When keratin is used in hair products and treatments, it is capable of penetrating the cuticle and creating a shield on the surface of the hair. It protects hair from structural damage, while imparting shine, smoothness, and volume. Keratin treatments involve prepping the hair, applying the treatment, and then sealing it with heat or a finishing product. This type of treatment gives soft, silky, shiny, and smooth hair that lasts from 6 weeks up to 5 months, depending on the treatment used. It can eliminate frizz, shield hair from humidity, strengthen hair shaft, and improve styling and manageability.
Why is ingestible keratin better than topical?
While keratin treatments might make your hair look amazing, the use of chemicals in them, especially formaldehyde, can have adverse effects. It could cause several health issues such as:
- Itching and burning sensation in the eyes.
- Irritation in nose and throat.
- Allergic reactions.
- Itchy skin with or without a rash.
- Scalp irritation that could lead to burns or blisters.
- Mood swings.
- Hair loss and damage.
- Excessive dryness and weakening of hair follicles.
- Hair becoming greasy and limp.
Long-term exposure to formaldehyde has also been linked to cancer. That is why, it is advisable to switch to keratin supplements instead, that promote production of keratin for maintaining or improving hair health.
Foods that improve keratin production
While you can definitely turn to supplements when it comes to ingestible keratin, there are a few foods that might help as well. All you have to do is work them into your diet plan. Take a look:
- Protein-rich foods like red meat, fish, eggs, yoghurt, milk and nuts, provide the amino acid building blocks needed to synthesize some structural proteins in our body, specifically keratin.
- Biotin-rich food such as nuts, cauliflower, mushrooms, cooked yolks, salmon, avocado. Biotin is needed for the metabolism of amino acids required to build keratin.
- Synthesis of keratin depends on vitamin A, found in cooked greens like kale, collards, and spinach, broccoli, and herring,
- Tuna, salmon, raw milk, mushrooms, eggs, boost vitamin D, which promotes keratin synthesis.
- Keratin is dependent on zinc for synthesis. Zinc is responsible for boosting collagen production and skin elasticity too. Why not include a couple of collagen supplements in your daily routine such as Turmeric + Marine Collagen Crush, or Lucuma + Marine Collagen Crush. You should focus on red meat, crab, almonds, milk, cheese, dark chocolate, for zinc production in the body.
Since keratin is a naturally occurring protein in the body, you shouldn’t ingest too much of it. Excessive production of keratin proteins could lead to hyperkeratosis, which is caused by inflammation as a response to skin damage, genetics, or for unknown reasons. It is imperative to talk to a healthcare provider before you consume any kind of keratin supplements.