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American Academy of Dermatology: Dermatologists Warn Ceramic Flat Irons Could Damage Hair and Lead to Hair Breakage
Date:7/30/2008

air. However, if breakage occurs, it can happen anywhere along the length of the hair and cause a shaggy or skimpy appearance to the hair. When this occurs, flat iron users may use the device even more frequently to try to tame the broken or uneven appearance of their hair -- which can lead to more damage.

Today, many ceramic flat irons on the market have variable heat settings with maximum temperatures of up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit (210 degrees Celsius). Prior studies have shown that temperatures of 347 to 419 degrees Fahrenheit (175 to 215 degrees Celsius) for as little as five minutes are enough to damage most hair. However, Dr. Mirmirani warns this threshold may be even lower if the heat is applied to damp hair or hair that has been chemically treated with color or permanents, as she is seeing patients who fit this scenario more frequently. If women are not willing to give up their flat irons in the quest for straight hair, Dr. Mirmirani advised them to take precautions.

"Proper use of flat irons is extremely important, especially given how quickly hair can be damaged with high heat settings," said Dr. Mirmirani. "Flat irons should only be applied to dry hair, and specialized styling products that act as heat protectors may be applied to the hair prior to pressing to help prevent burning and allow for smoother hair that remains straight longer. If there is a temperature setting on the device, it should be set no higher than 347 degrees Fahrenheit, or 175 degrees Celsius, or on the low/medium setting."

Although how frequently a flat iron should be used depends on an individual's hair type, Dr. Mirmirani recommended that these devices should probably not be used more than two to three times per week. For those who won't leave home without the ultra straight look, Dr. Mirmirani acknowledged that forgoing the daily flat iron routine will take willpower -- but the end result will be healthier, stronger hair that is not as prone to breakage and
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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