What are the Side Effects of Relaxing Hair?


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A lot of women think that straight hair is more attractive than wavy or curly hair, whereas the truth is curly and wavy hair are equally appealing. Still got straight hair on your mind? There are so many different ways you could get those curls straightened out – one of the most popular ways is to do “hair relaxing.” But just like all other permanent hair straightening methods, hair relaxing also involves chemicals and has its own set of side effects. In this post, we are going to discuss the side effects of relaxing hair and whether it’s worth doing it or not. Read on 🙂

Side Effects of Relaxing Hair

What is Hair Relaxing?
Hair relaxing involves a lotion or cream that makes the hair straight and more manageable. It chemically alters the texture of hair and straightens out the kink and curls from the hair strand. The result of hair relaxing can differ from person to person because it depends on an individual’s hair type, but surely, you can sport straight hair for about 6 to 8 weeks. However, regular touch-ups are required from time to time. You can get it done professionally in a salon or you can purchase a kit and do it yourself at home.

Side Effects of Hair Relaxing:

  • It contains Lye: All relaxers have chemicals in them. There is nothing called “herbal” in hair relaxing technique and if someone is labelling their product as “herbal,” then they are misleading consumers. Relaxers work by loosening the curl pattern by breaking down protein bonds within the hair shaft. There are two types of relaxers one with “lye” and other products that do not include lye. Lye relaxers contain sodium hydroxide, which is a harsh chemical with a pH range anywhere from 10 to 14. “No lye” relaxers are milder compared to lye relaxers. 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.
  • Chemical Burns: The corrosive ingredients in chemical relaxers can burn your scalp, and in some cases, it may cause permanent hair loss. The burns may cause scalp infection and would require medical treatment. It may also lead to hair loss and bald patches. It is recommended to apply a cream base or petroleum jelly to your scalp, hairline and nape of neck to minimise the risks. If your scalp has cuts or abrasions, it may sting/burn, so inform your stylist beforehand.
  • It can make hair brittle and dry.
  • The chemicals in hair relaxers can trigger inflammation and allergic reaction on the scalp.
  • Once your hair is relaxed, it will be become weaker and very dry. You will need deep conditioning and protein treatments to regain the strengthen of the hair, doing so will moisten the hair and prevent breakage which is the most common side effect. Don’t be surprised if you hair looks super dry, flaky and lifeless. You will need lots of care to maintain its moisture back.

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