Which Chemical Treatments Cause The Most Damage?

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It’s common to use chemical treatments to make your hair straighter, curlier or more colorful. But the process of making extreme changes can potentially cause lots of damage to your locks.

Many of the chemicals applied to your hair for perms, relaxing, bleaching or coloring have the potential to cause damage. Make sure you know the facts about them first – it could be the difference between healthy or damaged hair (and who would want to damage their tresses?)!

Chemical Perms

The term “chemical perm” can apply to the process of chemically straightening or curling your hair. Both processes have similar risks, and can cause similar damage to the hair.

The most important thing to know is that chemical perms need to apply lots of heat to the hair in order to change its natural shape. Just like with heated styling tools, intense heat can break the hair shaft and cause damage. In addition, the chemicals used in the process break the bonds of the hair in order to reform it. This can leave your hair susceptible to damage later on. Plus, the more chemical straightening or curling you do on your hair, the more breakage you’ll eventually see.

You should always go to a professional who knows how to handle this kind of chemical process. It’s also a good idea to wait at least 6 weeks in between chemically perming your hair to keep your hair as healthy as possible.

Chemical Relaxers

Chemical relaxers are another way to change the shape of your hair. They work by using chemicals to break the natural chemical bonds in your hair and force them into a new shape. Because they penetrate the hair shaft, they can affect the hair’s elasticity and strength.

The chemicals used in relaxers can cause irritations or other problems on your skin, scalp and hair if they’re used the wrong way. It’s best to go to a salon to have a professional apply the treatment since it’s so easy to damage the hair with this process. This also minimizes the risk of causing serious damage to your hair.

If you’ve chemically relaxed your hair, you should stay away from heated styling tools and frequent coloring to avoid the risk of causing further damage.

Keratin Straightening

Keratin straightening treatments can be good and bad for your hair. Some keratin formulations may contain levels of formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. The keratin protein is mixed with varying amounts of formaldehyde, then applied to hair. The protein helps fill cracks in the hair and repair damage. Then the keratin mixture is sealed in with a heated iron.

On one hand, keratin straightening can help to condition hair and repair damage. But on the other hand, fumes from formaldehyde could be harmful to your health. In addition, the severe heat used in the treatment can cause damage to the cuticle. If you do get a keratin treatment on your hair, make sure to condition it well to compensate for any heat damage (and be cautious of formaldehyde fumes!).


Bleaching or over-lightening your hair can be very harsh on the cuticle. The chemical works by opening the pores in your hair and stripping out the natural color. But bleach is so strong that it leaves the cuticle extremely porous.

Porous hair is bad for many reasons. First of all, it’s much weaker than healthy hair and will break easily. In addition, if you try to apply color to bleached hair, the dye will fade out very fast because the pores are enlarged.

If you do want to lighten your hair, it’s best to use a non-bleaching dye. This won’t be as damaging because it doesn’t leave the cuticle susceptible to damage the way bleach does.

Hair color

Using strong, harsh dye on your hair can cause damage and irritate your scalp, or cause an allergic reaction. Some low-end boxed dyes damage your hair because they enlarge the pores too much (like bleach does) and leave the cuticle susceptible to damage.

If you want to color your hair, make sure you go with a high-quality dye that will prevent damage, rather than cause it. But here’s the good news: eSalon’s special dye formulas are blended with conditioning elements, like vitamins E, B5, and Aloe vera. These help condition your hair so that it’s actually healthier after the color application than it was before.

We know it seems like there are a lot of ways to damage your hair, but with eSalon you don’t have to worry about it! We’re pretty proud that our color isn’t harmful like many of the other dyes on the market. Just make sure you’re careful when you apply any other chemical processes though – healthy, beautiful hair isn’t something to mess around with!