Why Does Keratin Burn My Eyes? Reasons & Preventive Measures

If you’ve suffered eye irritation from a keratin treatment, you’d ask yourself, “Why does keratin burn my eyes?”.

The quick answer is simple: the keratin protein alone cannot burn your eyes. There are other ingredients present in keratin treatment products that can cause this.

In this article, I’ll explain why this happens and the possible alternatives to try out.

Key Takeaways

  • Formaldehyde is hazardous to the eyes, and extreme eye irritation can occur.
  • There are formaldehyde-free products that you can opt for.
  • Preventing keratin from getting into your eyes is possible.

Why Does Keratin Burn My Eyes?

Keratin burns your eye because of the high levels of formaldehyde in the keratin hair products used by your hairstylist.

why keratin treatment is expensive. (1)

The hair straightening products used in a keratin hair treatment comprise a chemical mixture containing a list of ingredients with potential health risks, especially when their concentrations are high.

Formaldehyde is an active ingredient in keratin hair-smoothing products, which also improves hair texture during a Brazilian keratin hair treatment.

However, excessive formaldehyde exposure poses potential health risks and causes several reactions in the body, including skin irritation, chest pain, eye irritation, nose irritation, throat irritation, and sore throat (1).

Safety and health risks won’t be an issue when formaldehyde levels in keratin treatment products are minimal.

Formaldehyde is vital in formulating keratin treatment products for frizzy hair, curly hair, wavy hair, and other hair types needing hair smoothing treatments.

The main problem with using formaldehyde in keratin treatment is when the concentration gets too high.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas primarily used to preserve dead bodies.

Formaldehyde shouldn’t cause adverse reactions when applied to hair since the hair shaft is grossly composed of dead cells.

However, when the concentration gets too high, the gas becomes released.

At the same time, the hair treatment product is being used and can cause an allergic reaction in any part of the body that it contacts especially the skin, eyes, and respiratory organs.

How Serious is the Risk of Formaldehyde to the Eyes?

Formaldehyde is hazardous to the eyes, and extreme eye irritation can occur.

According to research, formaldehyde irritates the mucous membrane and can cause conjunctivitis and lacrimation (2) (3).

This is worthy of note, especially for those who love keratin treatments for eyelashes, i.e., keratin lash lifts.

Keratin lash lifts help to boost natural lashes and improve the curl pattern, particularly of your upper lash.

This is a sensitive lash service, as lash artists must ensure that the formaldehyde fumes in the keratin solution don’t get into your eyes.

Here is a video on eyelash keratin treatment:

@jazelle_makeupart πŸŽ€πŸ€ Keratin Lash Lift πŸ€πŸŽ€ It accomplished by giving the illusion of eyelash length. This makes the eyes appear more open, results in a more awake and youthful appearance. It gives you the look you would see after using lash curl or better. Real Lashes Keratin Lash Lift is a treatment to lift and boost your natural lashes. No lash extensions needed. Long-lasting The lash lift effect lasts between 5 and 8 weeks, which is the natural life cycle of an eyelash. Enhanced look Keratin Lash Lift Tint alters and boosts the color of the eyelash so that your natural lashes look fuller. ____ πŸ‘‰πŸ½Click β€œBOOK NOW” to schedule your next appointment! πŸ“ 10351 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 100 RM 32 Los Angeles, Ca 90025 πŸ“² Text ONLY 818-850-2261 πŸ’» LoveSickCosmeticsla.com πŸ“§ infoJazelleMakeupArtist@gmail.com πŸ§šπŸΌβ€β™€οΈ Refer a friend and receive $10 OFF #lovesickcosmetics #JazelleMua #LashLift #lashlifting ♬ Efecto – Bad Bunny

Also, formaldehyde is carcinogenic, meaning that it can cause cancer.

The danger of formaldehyde exposure is not only an issue of concern for those who want to have keratin treatments but also for hair salon owners who have frequent exposure to formaldehyde.

Watch this video to learn more about formaldehyde exposure hazards:

What Formaldehyde-free Options Can I Use Instead?

There are formaldehyde-free options that you can opt for, and they include Magic Sleek and Marcia Teixeria keratin treatments.

Before I go into detail about these keratin treatments, let me mention that getting keratin treatment products that are naturally formaldehyde-free is pretty challenging.

Most keratin products labeled as free of formaldehyde are not genuinely free and may contain several formaldehyde-related ingredients.

Some formaldehyde-related ingredients in most products’ keratin formulas include methylene glycol, formic aldehyde, methyl aldehyde, and methanol.

Some products also contain preservatives that can release formaldehyde fumes, including imidazolidinyl urea, benzylhemiformal, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15.

Now, let’s look at our formaldehyde-free options.

Magic Sleek

Magic Sleek is a non-toxic hair-straightening treatment product. It contains two ingredients that can straighten and smoothen your hair: Argan Oil and tannin.

It is devoid of any harmful chemicals that can cause adverse reactions from the body.

Marcia Teixeria

Marcia Teixeria keratin treatment is another treatment without safety issues.

It doesn’t contain formaldehyde or any formaldehyde-related ingredients, so it doesn’t release formaldehyde fumes while it is being used.

You can also consider the following alternatives to keratin treatment if you want straighter hair and do not want a keratin treatment.

  • Tourmaline hair-smoothing treatment
  • Hot oil treatment
  • Japanese straightening

If you’re questioning “Keratin Treatment and Hair Loss,” my article could help. And for those pondering, “Is Keratin Good for Black Hair?” I’ve got an informative piece. Do check them out!

How to Prevent Keratin From Getting Into Your Eyes

Preventing keratin from getting into your eyes is possible and depends primarily on the level of expertise of your stylist.

If your stylist is skilled enough, especially if you have a keratin lash lift, you shouldn’t worry about keratin getting into your eyes.

However, during a proper keratin hair treatment, there are other measures you need to take to prevent keratin from getting into your eyes. Let’s look at some of them.

Wearing lab goggles

I recommend using lab goggles when having a keratin treatment as it will help prevent the formaldehyde fumes from getting into your eyes.

This is important because you may be unable to close your eyes throughout the process.

Even if you attempt to close your eyes, remember that formaldehyde can irritate the skin, and your eyelids can be at risk of irritation.

Ensure proper ventilation

During a Brazilian keratin hair treatment, ensure that the ventilation in the salon is in optimal condition.

There should be adequate ventilation so the formaldehyde release can escape and not become too concentrated.

lady having a hair cut

What Medical Precautions Should I Take Immediately if Keratin Burns My Eyes?

The best thing to do if you get an eye burn from a keratin treatment is to see your doctor.

However, before seeing your doctor, you should be able to take some measures to ease the adverse effect of the irritation and inflammation in your eyes.

I recommend seeing your doctor because formaldehyde, the primary active ingredient in keratin treatment that causes eye burn, can have severe consequences, as mentioned above.

It can irritate your eye mucous membranes and cause conjunctivitis and lacrimation (3).

To prevent such results, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible if your eyes burn after a keratin treatment.

For immediate preventive measures, after the keratin treatment solution enters your eyes, you should immediately apply cool water to your forehead and allow the water to flow through your eyes for at least 15 minutes.

You might have to endure the pain symptoms while the 15 minutes last, and you’re trying to keep your eyes open. After this process, make sure you see your doctor for proper treatment.


Can too much keratin be harmful?

Too much keratin can make your hair brittle and shed more than usual.

How should I sleep after keratin treatment?

After a keratin treatment, you should sleep with your hair straightened horizontally. Also, ensure you use a silk pillowcase.

How toxic is a keratin treatment?

Keratin treatment is toxic to the degree to which chemicals such as formaldehyde (a carcinogen) are concentrated in the products used.


I hope that, by now, your question, “why does keratin burn my eyes” has been answered.

Please, do well to consider the alternative products recommended above. They will save you a lot of stress and possible health complications.

And if you ever suffer an eye burn after a keratin treatment, apply the abovementioned precautions.

lady with burnt eyes


1. Toxicology NRC (US) C on. EFFECTS on HUMANS. National Academies Press (US); 1980. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK217652/

2. Morrow GL, Abbott RL. Conjunctivitis. American Family Physician. 1998;57(4):735-746. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/1998/0215/p735.html

3. Mutch Aberdeen J. THE BRITISH JOURNAL- of OPHTHALMOLOGY JULY, 1944 COMMUNICATIONS the LACRIMATION REFLEX*. Accessed September 15, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC510379/pdf/brjopthal00699-0001.pdf

About Martina Todorovska

Martina is a graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine with a huge obsession for anything beauty-related. Her freelance writing started out as a creative outlet and turned out to be a full-time job. If you have any beauty questions, the chances are Martina has the answers. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES . Follow her on LINKEDIN , INSTAGRAM. Learn more about her HERE.

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