The 9 Side Effects of Hair Straightening and How to Avoid Them

Straightening your hair using flat irons or chemical relaxants is an awesome idea, giving you sleek, shiny and smooth hair. However, it is dangerous to be carried away by the great looks hair straightening can give you. Hair straightening whether carried out at home with a hair straightening iron or through a chemical treatment at a salon has some side-effects you can’t afford to play with. 

But the good news is that we have come to the scene to help you identify the side-effects and ultimately give you effective tips on how to avoid them. These tips are safety precautions that will help you steer clear of the dangers inherent in opting for hair straightening whether permanent or temporary. 

So, just relax and make your reading time worthwhile. 

What are the Side Effects of Hair Straightening?

There are many side effects of hair straightening you do at home or at the salon, ranging from a minor issue of dullness to serious hair loss. So, let’s take a closer look at each one of them. Shall we?

  1. Dryness

Dryness is the most common side-effect of both, temporary and permanent hair straightening. When you use a hot flat iron on your hair, it seeps all the moisture out of your hair to straighten and style it. It actually frees your hair from moisture by evaporating and turning the moisture into steam. This explains why your hair regains its natural state after washing. However, regular use of flat iron can strip your hair of its natural oils, which can make your hair completely brittle and dry.

Chemical hair straightening can also leave your scalp parched and dry, especially if it applies incorrectly or directly on the roots. Chemicals on roots are capable of weakening your hair and leaving it dehydrated. The condition gets even worse if you already have dry hair.

  1. Split Ends And Hair Breakage

This applies to both temporary (heat tools) and permanent hair straightening (chemical relaxants). Chemicals and excessive use of heat styling tools can weaken the structure of your hair strands, making them easier to break. As a result, the individual strands of your hair become much more prone to breaking right from the middle and encourage split-ends. 

  1. Hair Fall

As much as hair straightening is a good idea, it also has some side effects notably hair fall. Frequent use of heat styling tools and chemical relaxants can kill your hair follicles and ultimately cause hair fall. Also, following improper straightening technique or using improper straightening chemicals, can also destroy your hair follicles. When the follicles are not strong enough to hold on, you’ll have greater risk of hair thinning and permanent hair loss. 

  1. Itchy Scalp

Because of some chemicals applied to your hair while straightening it, problems like itchy scalp and dandruff might come up. Also, the natural oil on the scalp can react with dandruff. This reaction often leads to infection. A lot of women have fallen victims of fungal infection on the scalp, which can get worse and might even require a trip to the doctor.

  1. Damage to Original Texture

The pure truth is that your hair is much likely to lose its original form when you settle for hair straightening especially the permanent one. The chemical agents used while straightening your hair permanently can change the texture of your hair completely. No level of hair care remedies and hair masks can bring back your natural and healthy hair strands. At this point, you would need to grow your natural hair out completely, and as you know this might take a while.

Hot iron used in the process of straightening your hair at home may also transform your tresses completely. Though you have a straight poker hair, you may end up losing the original texture of your hair, especially if the hair is not properly cared for and maintained. 

  1. Slower Hair Growth 

Permanent hair straightening can also engender a slower hair growth rate. Without the use of proper heat protectants during the straightening treatment, huge damage can be done to your cuticles. This can lead to slower hair growth rate and thinning hair. 

  1. Itching on your Body

The formaldehyde gas released by smoothing chemical products used while straightening your hair does not portend well for your body. When you are continuously exposed to this strong gas, it can cause irritation to your skin, lungs, nose, and eyes. 

  1. Physical Reaction

Permanent straightening can also cause some allergic reactions. This could be as a result of some chemicals applied in the process of a permanent hair straightening treatment. You can react to these chemicals immediately after the treatment or a few days later. The allergic reaction can also cause irritation on your scalp and skin and other problems like redness, rashes, and irritation in your eyes.

  1. Dullness

Have you noticed that the oils that come naturally from your scalp and the moisture in your hair give your hair beauty, shine, and health? So, when your hair is devoid of the natural oil and moisture through straightening, your tresses become lifeless, frizzy, unhealthy and dull.

How to Avoid the Side Effects of Hair Straightening

  1. Always ensure you apply a heat protectant to your hair before straightening it. This helps to prevent your hair from getting totally fried by your straightener.
  2. Don’t straighten your hair too often, as excessive hair straightening is more likely to result in hair damage. Try to reduce straightening your hair to just once or twice a week. 
  3. Use a high-quality hair straightener and make sure they suit your hair type. If you’re having a hair treatment at a hair salon, make sure they are not using old or dirty hair appliances, that can damage your hair and scalp.
  4. Always get a test strand before having a chemical hair smoothing or straightening treatment. 
  5. Always make sure you use the right temperature setting for your hair type. In case you’re not sure which temperature setting is the best for you, start with a low or medium temperature setting, and work your way up.
  6. Don’t straighten your hair when it is drippy wet. When the hair wet it’s at its weakest state and is more prone to breakage. Even if you use a wet to dry hair straightener, make sure you use it only on dry or damp hair. Otherwise, use a hairdryer or let your hair air dry, before straightening it.
  7. Moisturize your hair regularly and use a conditioner every time you wash it. This will help you to restore your hair’s natural oil. Besides, use a leave-in conditioner after each wash and try to deeply condition your hair with natural hair masks every two weeks, as it will also add some intense hydration to your hair.
  8. To avert more damage, skip strong hair sprays and hair dyes, and allow your hair air dry. 


Whether you are keen on opting for permanent hair straightening or regular hair straightening, we strongly advise taking these simple and effective safety precautions. These tips, when acted upon, keep you away from the nasty side effects inherent in hair straightening.

Autour bio

Helen is a beauty enthusiast blogger, and the founder of On her blog, she shares hair care tips and hair styling tricks, as well as detailed reviews of the latest hair products.


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