Do you know that your hair is made of keratin? It is a very strong protein, which contains sulfide and when sulfides bond together they then form a disulfide bond that creates a kink or curl in the hair structure.
Chemical relaxers break that disulfide bond created from the bonding together of sulfide, the relaxer then resets the hair structure, permanently destroying the chemical bond of the hair, what it does is penetrate the into the inner layer of shaft of the hair which controls and responsible for giving hair that kink or curly and elasticity texture, and once they are broken down they give that desired stretch to the hair into a straighter alignment.
Relaxing the hair is a way of making the hair to be easily styled and washed, it can boost the confidence when your hair gets that bounce and feel.
However, the use of chemical relaxers whether it contains lye or not, they contain powerful chemicals which alters the structure of the hair from source and on the long run creates adverse effects and potentially damage your hair.
The adverse effects in the use of chemical relaxers include:
- The thinning of hair
- Gross hair loss
- Hair breakage
- Frizzy hair
- Split Ends
- Scalp Irritation
- Respirational Issues
- Thinning: the chemical relaxers can cause the thinning of hair to those who relax their natural hair because the chemicals in relaxers are specifically designed to make the hair structure thinner and straighter, this can spell trouble for edges, as damages causing thinning will prompt those edges to break off, due to the overuse of or over-processing of hair, chemical relaxers are also known to cause the greying of hair
- Gross Hair Loss: Chemical relaxers have been reported to cause hair loss, which in some cases have permanent effects from the damages sustained, in the long run due to use of relaxer, some experts also suggest that the quality of the new hair growth may also be affected due the chemicals present in the relaxer which can compromise the integrity of the hair bond structure. There are situations where hair strands that lack the normal luster of quality, quantity and colour have been spotted.
- Hair Breakage: This is another issue linked with the usage of chemical relaxers, it is a known fact that relaxers permanently alter the chemical structure of your natural hair texture and due to this, your hair will become weaker as you continue to use relaxer and more likely to break. It will be worthy to note that prolonged use of relaxers will increase the damages and can cause severe breakage to the hair.
- Frizziness: One of the major effect of relaxer is the fact that it washes away the moisture of the scalp and hair, leaving it dry and brittle. In other words, a dry hair is a frizzle hair with tendency to break. It is a common habit with most women who uses relaxers on their hair to also use heat frequently, by using blow dryers or flat iron, this is a sure way to hair frizziness.
- Dandruff: Dryness in the scalp due to the washing away of moisture is one of the major causes of dandruff in the hair, the relaxers tends to wash up the natural oil the scalp produces which could lead to irritation due to dry scalp and result to dandruff.
- Split Ends: Chemicals in relaxers are harsh and damages the primary protective layer of the hair which exposes the hair shaft, therefore it becomes prone to breakage and split ends, chemical relaxer have tendency to affect the texture of the hair and increase the formation of split ends, using relaxer over and over can lead to unevenness due to breakage. Experts have suggested that to grow a long, healthy and even hair the use of relaxers should be discouraged.
- Scalp Irritation/Burns: The damages caused by relaxers are not just limited to the hair alone, the chemicals travel deep into the scalp and it gets heavily affected, in can probably cause small lesions, burns and scarring, this could also cause permanent bald patches in the long run, this issue in some cases have involved lawsuits cases. The irritation, burns or damages caused by these chemical based agents in some cases are permanent and will need a lot of money and professionals in an attempt to reverse those damages.
- Respiration Issues: Just as we mention before, the damages are not limited to the hair alone, one of the most dangerous issues is the one directly affecting your health, the relaxers are made with strong chemicals such as lye and potassium hydroxide, which experts have said are harmful to humans, however these chemicals are both harmful to both the hairdresser and the hair owner. Breathing in the chemicals over a long period of time is highly toxic and can cause coughing, sneezing and other severe respiratory complications, while ingesting can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and other severe complications.
The use of Relaxers or not are always personal choices to be made, one must evaluate the risks involved. There are no 100% safe relaxers even the non-lye products contain guanidine hydroxide instead of Sodium hydroxide. If you must use relaxer be very careful and cautious.