Did you know that chemical straighteners such as relaxers and perms are filled with toxic chemicals? Yes, really!
If that’s still not enough to put you off the creamy crack, then read on to discover the top 5 reasons you should ditch the perms and stop relaxing your hair today.
Various Health Problems
A huge number of cosmetic products still contain parabens which have been linked in scientific studies to cancer, reduced muscle mass, weight gain and hormone disruption.
While all women face risks from cosmetics, this research showed women caring for their afro hair are at increased risk of serious harm. The study published in the Environmental Research journal showed over 78% of hair products marketed towards black women containing chemicals linked to obesity, infertility and cancer. And it also showed that around 80% of relaxers contain toxic chemicals such as parabens as well as phthalates which are commonly used as preservatives despite being linked to early menopause, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Burns/ Scalp Sores
As we mentioned, relaxers contain toxic chemicals that can lead to skin irritations and what’s more burns and scalp sores. For context, relaxing creams have a pH 12-14, which is as alkaline as a drain cleaner, by the way!. So when you put it like that it’s easy to understand how easy it is to damage your hair and skin!
Cicatricial Alopecia (CA) is a type of alopecia that is a synonym of Scarring Alopecia, where inflammation permanently damages the upper part of your hair follicles.
CA has many sub-types which are usually found on people with afro hair, especially ones that have been relaxing their hair for years. CA can also be caused by wearing your hair in very tight hairstyles or the extra tension of wigs/weaves on relaxed hair. Some of these subtypes can become genetic.
When under strain from relaxer or tight braids, your body tries to protect itself from harm by causing inflammation, which in the case of scarring alopecia destroys and replaces your hair follicles with scar tissue. As a result, the hair follicle would no longer be viable. The condition may be non-symptomatic or you can also experience erythema, severe itchiness, discomfort, varied pigmentation, blisters with pus or fluid, strong burning and pain.
All relaxers denaturalise your curly pattern and make your afro dry. The relaxing process changes the surface of your hair. Relaxing causes the outer layer that protects all your inner structures (medulla, cortex and cuticle) to become more acidic. The contact among the surfaces tend to repulse each other giving a rougher, drier hair.
Editor's tip: Battle dryness this by following the LOC and LCO methods. The acronym indicates the order by which the products (L = liquid O = oil and C = cream) should be applied to your hair. Using this method (with our Moisture Surge Set) after you’ve washed your hair will help you lock in moisture and combat dryness.
The chemical processes of relaxing hair can leave your hair very brittle with increased breakage as it loses its distinct elasticity. Relaxing increases scalp sensitivity which may lead to severe irritation, chemical burns, scarring and permanent hair loss as reported by almost 100 participants.
NB: Afro Hair care can be quick and easy with the right products and routine. Thinking about transitioning, want more helpful hair information or just want natural hair encouragement, check out the rest of our blog posts For more information on how to create make curly/afro hair care easy, check out our articles, below. And our Newly Natural Set comes with everything needed for new naturalistas embarking on their natural hair journeys.