Image Source: Unsplash
As a mom, juggling between daily chores and personal grooming can be hard. If you’re contemplating using hair relaxers to ease up your hair care regimen or considering it for your kids, it’s crucial to understand the basics, benefits, and potential risks associated with them.
From understanding what hair relaxers are and how they work to knowing how to use them more safely, we’ve gathered some important insights just for you. Let’s dive deep into unraveling the world of hair relaxers while aiming for healthier tresses that don’t break or dry out.
5 Things All Moms Should Know About Hair Relaxers
Before using any products on your hair or body, you should take the initiative and do your own research. Hair relaxers and straighteners can be very dangerous if they aren’t used correctly.
1. What Exactly Are Hair Relaxers, and How Do They Work?
Hair relaxers are chemical treatments that reduce the natural curl pattern of your hair by breaking down hair follicles. Essentially, they change the structure of your hair. They work by penetrating the outer layer of your hair strands and restructuring the part that makes it curly.
This is achieved using strong alkaline chemical ingredients such as sodium hydroxide or lye, but some formulas use milder agents like ammonium thioglycolate, which can be gentler on the scalp and hair. Chemically treated hair needs special care in order not to damage it further.
2. Common Non-Fatal Risks of Using Hair Relaxers
The use of chemical hair relaxers can result in a high percentage of adverse effects, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine. These effects include but aren’t limited to frizzy hair, dandruff, hair loss, thinning and weakening of hair, graying of hair, and split ends.
3. Chemical Hair Relaxers Have Been Linked to Uterine Cancer
A recent study has linked hair straightening chemicals with a higher risk of uterine cancer. Black women who use chemical hair relaxers are at a higher risk of uterine cancer, as they’re the demographic that uses these products the most. However, every demographic is at risk.
If you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer and have used chemical hair relaxers, you may be able to join a hair relaxers lawsuit, whether you used L’Oreal products or another hair strengthening or relaxing product. Although there are risks involved with using hair relaxers, it is possible to use them safely by choosing the right type of relaxer and using it correctly.
4. Not All Hair Relaxers are As Dangerous As Others
Chemical hair relaxers often contain lye, which is a highly corrosive substance that can cause cancer, especially after prolonged use or misuse. Although lye-based relaxers are powerful and effective for oily hair, there are other types available that may be safer to use.
- Calcium hydroxide is better for sensitive scalps but can dry out hair if left on too long.
- Ammonium thioglycolate is a good option for curly hair and has fewer side effects. Guanidine carbonate is a no-lye relaxer that is considered the safest but is weaker.
It is recommended to explore these alternatives and follow safe usage practices when using hair relaxers. Misuse could cause many of the non-fatal risks or increase your risk of cancer.
5. It’s Possible to Use Hair Relaxers More Safely
Even though using hair relaxers comes with risks, there are ways to make it safer. Firstly, ensure you have healthy, undamaged hair before attempting any chemical treatments. If your hair is damaged or dry, adding a relaxer may exacerbate any existing issues.
Secondly, always do a patch test first to check for any allergic reactions or sensitivities to the product. Lastly, never leave a relaxer on longer than directed, and always follow up with a neutralizing shampoo and deep conditioning treatment. This way, you can avoid potential harm.
Whether the smooth, easy-to-manage look of relaxed hair is right for you or not, be confident that you’re equipped to make the best decision for your (or your child’s) unique hairstyle needs. For any more concerns or questions, always consider consulting a professional hairstylist.