Keratin for Hair Growth: Truth or Myth

Keratin word cloud concept

Thinning hair is something that can affect anyone. One thing that can make it worse is when your not getting everything that your hair needs in order to grow. While you’ve probably heard of keratin, do you know how it helps your hair grow?

What Is Keratin?

Keratin isn’t a vitamin. It’s a protein found in our bodies. More specifically, keratin is a specific protein that’s made when we eat foods that have protein in them. Its job is to give structure to our cells in our hair, fingernails, and skin.

In fact, most hair is made up of around 90% keratin. This allows your hair to bend and twist into different hairstyles without breaking. It even gives your hair some elasticity, because the chain of keratin holds on to itself even when stretched a little.

A strand of hair that has plenty of keratin is not only stronger, but has better elasticity. This stop breakage. Healthy hair not only looks thicker, but grows better.

The Right Amount Of Keratin

In order to get enough keratin, you have to eat enough protein. However, to help your body absorb the protein, you should also have certain vitamins in your system.

In order to make keratin, our bodies need vitamins such as Vitamin A, biotin, and the other Vitamin B’s. If you don’t have enough of these vitamins, no matter how much protein you eat, your body won’t be able to make enough keratin.

The best keratin supplements that you can take are ones that have some of these other vitamins in them as well. However, it’s best to get the right amount by eating foods that have them.

Foods that are high in protein include: eggs, beans, fish, and meats.

In order to get the most out of these foods, also choose mushrooms, nuts, cauliflower, and whole grains for the biotin. Then add and orange fruits, and vegetables like carrots and pumpkins, for the Vitamin A.

Side Effects Of Keratin

While keratin is something that your body needs, you don’t want to overdo it. It can actually be dangerous to have too much protein. Your body has to work hard to filter out  extra keratin. It does this through your kidneys, dumping it out through your urine.

Having too much protein can overload your kidneys. If this is done for any length of time, your kidneys can become damaged and even fail entirely. It depends how much excess keratin they have to flush out, and how long have you been overworking them.

It’s important that you make sure your keratin levels are low before you consider taking  supplements. Believe it or not, it’s possible to have too much keratin in your body, even without adding supplements.

There’s a medical term for having too much keratin in the body. It’s known as hyperkeratosis. This happens when someone’s body makes too much keratin.

People suffering from this condition have skin that gets dry, rough, and can even feel thick. It can also affect a person’s hair, making it rough and dry. These are great signs to look for if you feel like you’re getting too much, or if you’re taking a supplement and you notice a change in your skin and hair.

You should stop as soon as you notice these symptoms. It can be a sign that your kidneys are overloaded. Also consider going to the doctor so that they can tell you if your kidneys need to be checked.

Keratin Hair Treatments Pros And Cons

One of the ways that you can avoid keratin affecting your kidneys is by using it topically instead of taking it internally. This can be a great way to get keratin in your hair and strengthen it.

There are a variety of methods available.

If your hair is rough, this can help keratin attach to the strands of your hair. In turn, this helps repair some of the damage, and make your hair smoother. You don’t have to do anything special, other than buying shampoo and conditioner that have keratin in them.

However, be careful about which topical treatment that you decide to go with. Some treatments do more harm than good. For example, some topical treatments use a flat iron and high heat. This do this along with a keratin mix which seals the protein into your hair. While it might sound good in theory, there are two reasons to avoid this method.

The first reason is that the high heat that is used can often reach over 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures this high break down the natural keratin in the strands of your hair which is damaging.

The second reason is that some of the ingredients that are often found in the keratin mix are ones you don’t want in your hair. Formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical that’s known to cause cancer, and yet sometime it’s added to the formula! Weird, right?

Conclusion

Simply put, yes keratin can help with your hair growth, however you want to make sure that you use it with care. Make sure that you drink plenty of water and do what you can to help your kidneys out if you are taking it as a supplement.

The more you do to your hair in terms of coloring, perms, irons, and styling products, the more the keratin that is in your hair will get broken down. This is one of the main things that gives your hair that damaged look after a while.

Your hair will then need more keratin in order to repair your hair, which is why keratin can be a big help in keeping hair healthy and reducing the effects of the damage. If your hair has a lot of damage to it, then you may need to take a supplement with keratin in it, just be sure to clear it with your doctor first.

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