Keratin: what it is, benefits, hair straightening treatment, rich foods and contraindications

Keratin: what it is, benefits, hair straightening treatment, rich foods and contraindications

Keratin is a fundamental protein for your well-being. In fact, it has a structural function and increases the resistance of parts of the body such as skin, hair and nails.

In particular, it is widely used in cosmetics as a component of products for the treatment of brittle nails and, above all, to improve hair health.

If they are damaged or stressed, keratin-based treatments are ideal because they nourish, hydrate and strengthen the hair. Finally, there are foods that stimulate the action of keratin within a healthy and balanced diet.

Keratin: what it is and where it is found

It is made up of long chains of amino acids, in which vitamins and trace elements are present. In particular, according to the definition in the medical dictionary, keratin is a protein with a fibrous structure, belonging to the scleroprotein group.

It is present in the epithelial cells of the epidermis, nails, hair and hair (which contain about 13%) and gives them structural strength. It is the main component of the stratum corneum, i.e. the outer layer of the epidermis.

Its molecule is rich in sulfur and contains high quantities of amino acids, in particular: proline and cysteine.

Keratin is of animal origin and is found in:

  • Feathers.
  • Mane.
  • clogs.
  • Horn.
  • Lana.

It is used in the pharmaceutical industry to coat gastro-resistant pills, but also in the preparation of foams for fire extinguishers. Furthermore, it is famous because it is widely used in the cosmetic industry for hair health products.

What is it for: properties and benefits

Its main function is to protect the skin, hair, hair and nails. In fact, it forms a film that defends the body from external agents that can damage it.

It is a substance rich in properties. It is also used in natural formulations as an adjunct to pharmacological treatments for various problems.

It is a protein made up of 19 amino acids, including cysteine, rich in sulphur, which plays an important role in the cohesion of hair cells. In fact, hair contains 89% of it. For this reason it is important to keep them strong and resistant. Without keratin, hair becomes weak.

Keratin: why it is important for hair health

Keratin is essential for the health and beauty of hair. In fact, it protects them from external chemical, physical and environmental agents that can damage and weaken them.

If the keratin structure in the shaft is intact, the hair is strong, soft and shiny. On the other hand, if you lack this protein, the hair appears damaged, weak, and dull.

The causes of the decrease in keratin can be many. But why can we have keratin deficiencies? The reasons are many and due, in particular, to:

  • Wrong lifestyle.
  • Aging.
  • Pollution.
  • Harmful substances contained in hair products such as shampoos or dyes.

Even some habits can compromise the keratin structure of the hair, damaging it. For example, excessive use of high-temperature hair dryers or hair straighteners.

However, thanks to lifestyle changes, especially by adopting a healthy and balanced diet, cosmetic treatments and supplements, it is possible to restore keratin and have bright and healthy hair.

Beauty treatments with keratin


Numerous cosmetic treatments are available in case of damaged hair or if you want to fortify it. In particular, there are:

  • It was.
  • Shampoo.
  • Balms.
  • Masks.
  • Foams.
  • Wraps.

Hydrolysed keratin products can be used as a restructuring treatment for the reconstruction of the hair fiber in the case of fine, brittle and fragile hair, and allow split ends to disappear, giving volume and shine and an anti-frizz effect.

These products can be used at home or by your trusted hairdresser.

Anti-frizz smoothing treatment

The smoothing keratin treatment improves the hair structure by eliminating frizz.

The hair is first washed to remove all impurities. Then, the keratin solution is applied to the hair, divided into thin strands, thoroughly dried. Finally, it is fixed with the plate.

The whole process takes about 90 minutes on average, but it depends on the length of the hair. After the treatment, the hair should not be washed or tied with rubber bands, clips or clips for 48 hours. This way, the product is absorbed better.

Specific keratin treatments allow you to obtain a smoothing effect for curly and frizzy hair. In this case, however, it is good to keep in mind that it is a chemical treatment that modifies the structure of the stem. While it makes your hair smooth and shiny, it could damage it over time.

It is therefore advisable to find out about the products used and check that your hair is suitable for the treatment. In fact, the keratin straightening treatment is not recommended if you have fine hair and a sensitive scalp.

The keratin straightening treatment is also called:

  • Progressive brush.
  • Brazilian treatment.
  • Hair lifting.

The promised result is always the same: smooth, tidy, restructured, never frizzy hair. The effect lasts 2/3 months, without the need to make any folds. Prices range from 80 to 300 euros.

Keratin extensions

Extensions are strands of artificial hair that are applied to make the hair longer and thicker. There are several varieties, including those with keratin.

They are the favorites of fashion addicts because they give a more natural effect. Indeed, they blend under the root of the hair with a small ball of keratin.

They must be applied by a professional hairdresser and can last up to six months. They should be applied about one centimeter from the skin. The end of the extension is joined to the lock of hair and a machine is passed that heats the keratin so as to glue the two locks in a natural way.

Keratin treatments: results

The treatment has a variable duration and depends on the dexterity of the hairdresser, the characteristics of the hair and also on how often we shampoo.

So if you play a lot of sport and wash your hair almost every day, the treatment will hardly last more than two months.

It is also advisable not to wait for the effect to completely disappear before doing it again, especially the first time. By repeating the treatment constantly, the result lasts longer.

After the treatment, the hair should not be washed or tied up for 48 hours, this is to ensure that the product is absorbed and to prevent elastic bands, clips and clips from leaving creases.

Also avoid coloring your hair in the following days: the treatment can have a slightly lightening effect.


You have to be careful because some keratin straightening treatments can contain a harmful substance, formaldehyde. It can cause allergic phenomena and can even be carcinogenic. In fact, it can cause:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation.
  • Hair loss.
  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Skin erythema.

Italian products must contain a maximum percentage established by the Ministry of Health. In particular, since 2010, by law, the use of products containing formaldehyde in quantities greater than 0.2% has been prohibited. For this reason it is important to contact a trusted hairdresser who uses certified products.

It is also advisable to carefully read the components written on the straightening product label and to verify that there are no other harmful substances such as:

  • Aldehyde.
  • Glutaraldeide.
  • Formalin or methylene glycol.

Finally, remember that if you feel an unpleasant and pungent smell when using high temperatures on your hair, it means that there is formaldehyde in the treatment.

If you are interested in the topic, discover our guide to have straight hair.

How to take keratin

Proper nutrition and constant physical activity are essential to maintain the right levels of keratin in the body and always have healthy hair. There are, however, food supplements capable of making up for the lack of the correct amounts of nutrients, but also cosmetic products to be applied directly to the hair.

Keratin supplements can be purchased in pharmacies, drugstores, e-commerce sites or online shops, while the application kits, in beauty salons and from your trusted hairdresser.

The price varies according to the type and quality of the products. For supplements it ranges from 20 euros to 50 euros.

For complete application kits, it varies from 40 to 100 euros. Always remember to seek expert advice before purchasing any product.

Foods that contain keratin

To take care of your hair and stimulate the production of keratin, you need to focus on adequate nutrition and correct hydration.

A diet rich in vegetables and fresh fruit, such as the one proposed by Tipsforwomens, improves the appearance and brightness of the hair. In particular, foods that contain a lot of vitamin C are important, which favors the absorption of proteins of vegetable origin, essential elements of keratin. Go ahead, then, to:

  • Orange juice.
  • Lemon.
  • Grapefruits.

But also peppers, cauliflower, onion, brown rice and broccoli, which contain vitamin B7.

If you are interested in the topic, discover our in-depth study on the hair diet.

The hair is a biological compound made of amino acids, bricks that make up keratin, and here is then that a diet capable of replenishing…