Is Permanent Hair Straightening Bad or Good? (The Side Effects, Pros, and Cons Involved)

Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Chase Reiner

Permanent hair straightening can provide sleek results, but it has drawbacks. Common side effects include hair damage, dryness, and loss of natural curl. Approximately 60-70% of people experience post-treatment hair damage.

Pros, and Cons of Permanent Hair Straightening

AppearanceProvides a sleek and straight hair look.Natural texture of hair may be permanently lost.
Ease of HandlingMakes hair easier to manage and style on a daily basis.Straightened hair can be monotonous, with lesser possibilities for various styles.
DurationResults are long-lasting, often lasting several months or even for good.The process is irreversible. If results are not satisfactory, one must wait for the hair to grow out.
MaintenanceReduces the need for daily styling, saving time and effort.Requires specific and extensive maintenance, including specific shampoos, conditioners, and heat protectant sprays.
Hair HealthCan reduce frizz and provide a polished look.The use of chemicals can significantly damage the hair, leading to breakage, dryness, and potential hair loss.

The Side Effects of Permanent Hair Straightening

Permanent hair straightening is a popular hair styling treatment. The process uses chemicals and heat to break the bonds that give your hair its natural shape.

The process leaves your hair straight, smooth, and shiny, but it comes at a cost: the long-term side effects can cause damage to your hair. It’s not clear whether this comes from repeated use or whether it’s just part of how permanent hair straightening works. However, if you wish to know more about this before you decide if it’s right for you, you must know about the side effects.

The Side Effects of Permanent Hair Straightening

1. Cancer Risk

According to a study published in the international journal for Cancer in 2019, 30% of American women who use permanent hair straightener chemicals risk developing breast cancer than those who don’t. The study established that 75% of African-American women are likely to do permanent hair straightening compared to white women.

The potential concern is the formaldehyde (carcinogen) chemical. This chemical could be the main course of breast cancer among women who perform permanent hair straightening.

2. The Split End Issues

Permanent hair straightening may be bad for your hair in the long run. The chemicals used in permanent hair straightening may result in dry and split ends. Unfortunately, if you end up with this problem, you must trim your hair often.

3. Itchy Scalp

An itchy scalp could be one of the most stubborn side effects of permanent hair straightening. The chemicals in the straightener can irritate your skin, causing an itchy, red, or scaly scalp. Besides the itchy scalp, you may experience dandruff issues.

The situation might exacerbate if dandruff reacts with the scalp’s natural oil to cause fungal infections.

If you’re experiencing an itchy scalp, try using a mild shampoo and conditioner. You may also want to avoid using styling products or treatments for a few days. If the itchiness persists, consult your dermatologist or stylist for further advice.

4. Altering Your Hair Texture

Permanent hair straightening changes the structure of your hair at a cellular level. This means that the original curl pattern of your hair is permanently damaged. The chemicals used in the process can also be harsh on your scalp, causing irritation, redness, and even burns. The hot iron can also permanently alter your tresses when performing permanent hair straightening.

Some people have even reported losing their hair after getting a perm. While this is less common, it does happen. Protecting your skin by wearing gloves when applying the chemical mixture to your hair and washing off any excess with cold water is vital.

5. Hair Fall

When it comes to hair fall, several factors can contribute to this issue. Permanent hair straightening is just one of them. While permanent hair styling may not be the only cause of hair fall, it can exacerbate the problem.

The hot iron used in the treatment weakens your hair follicles, resulting in severe hair fall. The situation aggravates if you use the wrong chemicals and techniques.

 Hair Fall

Tips to Mitigate the Side Effects of Permanent Hair Straightening

Even though there is no proven way to stop the side effects of permanent hair straightening, you can use the following tips to limit the damage intensity:

  • Ensure you use high-quality hair straightening products.
  • Don’t wash your hair regularly as this might strip off the natural oil leaving your hair dry.
  • Avoid using warm water on your hair, but opt for cold or lukewarm water.
  • Hydrate your scalp by oiling your hair.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

Before starting with the pros and cons, let’s first understand what permanent hair straightening is. This type of straightening uses chemicals to break the bonds that make your hair curly. The hair is then reformed into a straighter shape using heat. Let’s explore the good and the bad so that you can make an informed decision.

The Advantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

If you’re considering permanently straightening your hair, you might wonder if it’s bad for your hair. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. While some people find that their hair is healthier after straightening, others find that theirs becomes dry and brittle. Do diligent research and ensure you understand the benefits and drawbacks before deciding.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

Here are the pros:

  • You can achieve sleek, straight hair that’s low-maintenance.
  • It can be a time-saver.
  • It can help reduce frizz and flyaways.
  • Your hair will be more manageable overall.
  • You can experiment with different styles.
  • It can give you a confidence boost!

The Disadvantages of Permanent Hair Straightening

While permanent hair straightening can be a time-saving option for those with naturally curly or wavy hair, it does have some disadvantages:

  • The chemicals in the straightening process can damage your hair, making it dry and brittle.
  • Permanent hair straightening is a time-consuming process that requires you to sit still for several hours while your hair is being treated.
  • The cost of permanent hair straightening can be expensive, especially if you go to a salon.
  • The chemical treatment stays in your hair for six months (although this will vary depending on how often you wash your hair). Therefore, you must wear a hat or bonnet when sleeping, so the solution doesn’t get on any sheets.
  • Finally, once the treatment wears off, most people find their natural curls reappear quickly; only about 20% of people maintain their straightened locks after six months.

Tips on How to Take Care of Your Hair After Treatments

No matter your hair treatment, it’s essential to take care of your hair afterward to ensure it remains healthy and strong. Here are critical tips on how to take care of your hair after a permanent straightening treatment.

  • Use shampoos and conditioners designed for chemically treated hair.
  • Avoid using heating tools such as blow dryers or curling irons.
  • Wash your hair with cold water.
  • Skip the use of too many styling products so they don’t build up on your hair.
  • Never brush wet hair; use a wide-toothed comb when it’s damp.
  • Avoid rubbing too hard when shampooing or conditioning because this can irritate your scalp

Keep in mind that long periods of heat exposure will damage the cuticle and cause drying – so avoid direct heat sources like sun exposure, space heaters, hot showers/baths, etc.

9911763 821 1

Questions to Ask Before Getting a Permanent Hair Straightening Treatment

Permanent hair straightening, also known as a keratin treatment, can be a great way to achieve smooth, sleek hair. But is it right for you? Here are the critical questions you must ask before booking an appointment.

  • Is the stylist experienced with this technique?
  • What will my hair look like after the treatment?
  • Will my hairstyle still work after the treatment?
  • What are the side effects of this process?


Permanent hair straightening can be a great way to achieve low-maintenance, sleek, smooth locks. However, it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding. Some potential risks include damage to the hair shaft, scalp irritation, and loss of natural oils. On the other hand, if done correctly by a professional, permanent hair straightening can give you the gorgeous head of hair you’ve always wanted.

Reference 1:

Reference 2:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *