Are You Sacrificing Health in the Name of Beauty?

6 sometimes-risky pampering practices and how to indulge in them safely
flat iron Photo: Claudio Bravo/Shutterstock
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Keratin Treatments: Iron out the kinks

Keratin treatments deliver smooth, frizz-free locks — but at a risk: Most contain formaldehyde which, according to David J. Goldberg, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, can irritate eyes, nose and throat, cause coughing and wheezing, and trigger severe allergic reactions. Repeated exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to cancer. Beware “formaldehyde-free” keratin treatments: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that many of these actually have high concentrations of the chemical, or form the chemical when heated. If you’re bent on straightening your hair, the safest way is to make friends with a flat iron.

Related: What Your Hair Says About Your Health