For most women, hair relaxers are the remedy to straight hair and a more presentable look. And this has led women to use relaxers of different kinds to give their hair the look they want.
However, research has shown that relaxers are triggers to several cancers and hair damage. They can burn your skin, cause permanent damage to your scalp and lead to either immediate or future hair loss.
Over 50% of the people who have relaxed their hair have reported hair breakage problems.
How Hair Relaxers Work
Hair relaxers straighten hair by penetrating the cuticle and the cortex layers of the hair shaft to loosen the natural curl hair pattern this process weakens your hair leaving it weak and prone to breakage, especially from the tips.
See harsh truths about hair relaxers
1. Once your hair is relaxed, it will become weaker and very dry. You will need deep conditioning and protein treatments to regain the strength of the hair, and doing so will moisten the hair and prevent breakage which is the most common side effect.
Most times it would require you to relax your hair again once it starts to lose its shine.
2. The corrosive ingredients in relaxers can cause chemical burns on your scalp, and in some cases, can cause permanent hair loss. The burns are prone to cause scalp infection and would require medical treatment.
3. It may also lead to hair loss (alopecia) and bald patches. If your scalp has cuts or abrasions, it may sting/burn, so inform your stylist beforehand. The burns on your skin can be dry, flaky, very irritating, and very unpleasant.
4. Most relaxers contain ‘Lye,’ and Lye contains sodium hydroxide, which is a harsh alkaline chemical with a pH range anywhere from 10 to 14. “It is a known fact that lye relaxer damages hair and scalp.
Relaxers often come in three sections – Super, Regular, and Mild. The strength is decided by the professional taking into consideration the individual’s hair texture.
5. Hair relaxers can make your hair brittle and dry which will lead to breakage, excessive shedding, and possibly hair loss.
The chemicals in relaxers can activate inflammation and allergic reactions on the scalp that can cause discomfort and constant irritation.