6 Hair Straightening Cream Side Effects

If you’ve been considering straightening your hair using creams, you should know some of the hair straightening cream side effects. 

Many people assume that creams provide a safer alternative solution to salon treatments that not only tend to cost more but could also damage your hair. 

But how accurate are these assumptions? Do creams not have side effects?

While it may be true that these creams have fewer side effects than other straightening methods, they, too, have some adverse effects on your hair and health.

Let’s look at some of these before applying such hair straightener cream.

1. Alters The Hair Texture

The chemical agents in a hair straightening cream [1] are designed to change your hair’s structure and give it a smooth, sleek, straight appearance.

woman with luscious hair

To do so, these components alter the core architecture of your hair strands and reshape them from the inside.

This alteration can change your hair’s pattern negatively permanently [2].

You might completely lose your hair’s original, authentic texture, making it look deformed and unflattering.

When this happens, no hair care remedies, hair treatments, and conditioning masks can help you bring back your naturally healthy strands.

The only option you would be left with is to grow your natural hair entirely and gradually cut out the straightened sections to revive your hair’s previous healthy state.

2. Causes Severe Hair Fall

The most common and noticeable side effect of using this product is severe hair fall [3].

While smoothing out the hair cuticles for a straighter outlook, these creams also soften the roots and affect the scalp, which results in excessive hair fall and hair thinning.

When you use a hot flat iron on the smoothened hair follicles to maintain a straighter outlook, the heat weakens them even more, causing additional hair breakage and hair loss.

This condition worsens when you don’t choose a suitable cream or follow the steps of straightening.

3. Starts To Produce Split Ends

In addition to potentially causing extensive hair loss, they could result in severe split ends.

lady showing her split ends

Because these creams leave your hair dry and brittle, making the follicles soft and weak, the hair strands tend to break from the middle at the slightest inconvenience.

Which results in severe split ends. And when this occurs, your straightened hair looks un-uniform and unsightly.

4. Results In Itchy Scalp

Since hair straightening creams have different chemical components, they reduce the production of natural oils in the scalp that keep it hydrated and healthy.

Because of a lack of oils and nourishment, your scalp becomes dry and flaky, causing itchy scalp and dandruff problems.

Severe dandruff [4] often spreads to the neck and forehead, leading to severe fungal infection.

Another cause of an itchy scalp is the allergic reaction to the cream. You could be allergic to any of the numerous chemicals used in hair straightening creams and not know about it.

Once you apply it to your hair, the allergic reaction can manifest immediately, causing unbearable irritation on your scalp and skin.

This irritation can gradually lead to rashes and redness, and you might need medical help.

5. Has The Potential To Cause Cancer

Many hair straightening creams on the market contain a chemical ingredient called Formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is a potent, colorless gas that removes annoying frizz and flyaways from hair strands and helps to keep them smooth and straight for an extended period.

However, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), this component is hazardous to the human body and should not be used in any form or shape.

It can cause cancer (or help cancer grow and spread) if you are exposed to it for a long time.

Aside from the person who uses the straightening cream, the surrounding people also risk suffering from cancer and other health hazards.

6. Imposes The Risk Of Health Problems And Allergic Reactions

Aside from being a carcinogen (a component that might cause cancer), formaldehyde in hair straightening creams is responsible for triggering other health problems and allergic reactions, from itchy scalp to skin rash, sneezing, coughing, and running nose.

This component can cause extreme discomfort.


1. DenBeste M, Akhtar M. Hair straightening composition and system [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jan 24]. Available from: https://patents.google.com/patent/US4992267A/en#:~:text=Hair%20straightening%20or%20relaxer%20products

2. Permanent Hair Straightening: Types, Pros, Cons, and Side Effects [Internet]. Healthline. 2019 [cited 2022 Jan 24]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/permanent-hair-straightening#:~:text=Formaldehyde%2C%20which%20is%20in%20almost

3. Hair Loss: Treatment, Causes, Types, Home Remedies & Prevention [Internet]. MedicineNet. Available from: https://www.medicinenet.com/hair_loss/article.htm

4. Is My Dandruff Severe? [Internet]. WebMD. [cited 2022 Jan 24]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/severe-dandruff

About Sylvia K

Sylvia is one of the most joyful people you’ll ever meet. She is a high advocate of self-love and encourages women to take care of themselves both mentally and physically. She loves girly talks especially salon talks (a little gossip doesn’t hurt) and spends most of her free time on skincare or hair care. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. Find her on LINKEDIN. Learn more about her HERE.

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