The Truth About Relaxers
There are 2 kinds of relaxers:
- Lye: Sodium Hydroxide
- No Lye: Guanidine, lithium, or potassium Hydroxide
Which is better you may ask? Well, both are harmful, although the no lye is slightly less damaging. Both have a high PH meaning they are highly alkaline. When placed on your hair it immediately strips it of its moisture. Then it breaks down the hair structure. If any moisture remains, the straightener would not be effective. That’s why you have to deep condition after a chemical process.
How it works:
Let me briefly explain how relaxers work.
- Peptide bonds create the STRENGTH of the hair.
- The purpose of a relaxer is to DESTROY peptide bonds
- When bonds are destroyed, the hair straightens because it’s strength is now gone.
- So chemically processing the hair changes the molecular structure. This is a permanent change. Once the bonds are broken, our kinky curly hair loses its natural shape and elasticity, and can then be manually formed into straight hair. The changed S-shape bond can never be returned to its original healthy form. It has undergone a permanent change caused by chemical damage. Can hair be damaged and healthy at the same time?
The instructions on the relaxer boxes always say to wear gloves — because the chemicals are caustic, however it is applied directly to the hair and scalp and left there for a period of time. Women experience burns and scabs from the toxic chemicals, and yet they continue to go back every few weeks for their regular dose of this creamy crack. The FDA banned the manufacture of household liquid drain cleaners that have a higher than 10 percent solution of Sodium Hydroxide because it corrodes drainpipes. Because it is so strong, it may cause dermatitis of the scalp. If left on the hair more than 10 minutes, it will dissolve the hair, causing it to tear easily and become fragile and limp. Would anyone put this cream on their face, or on their arm, and leave it there for 10 or 15 minutes? Then why put it on your head?
- For hair: You can end up bald and chemically burned. Relaxers by their very nature damage the hair/scalp if they come in contact with it.
- For skin and body: Strong toxic chemicals (hint: gloves required) are being absorbed through the skin into the tissue, cells, and blood stream. Your body can absorb up to 60% of these products through your pores. Just think about it. The same chemical found in drain cleaner, is put on your hair and scalp. The FDA and the American Cancer Society found that women who had never used permanent hair dyes showed decreased risk of all fatal cancers combined and of urinary system cancers.
- Inhalation of chemical fumes: A study done by the Cancer Surveillance program at the University California School of Medicine found the number of cases of blood cancer to be excessive for females in the occupations of cosmetologist, hairdressers, and manicurist. Dyes, shampoos, conditioners, relaxers, permanent wave solutions and nail antiseptics are the suspect causes of this. The frequent inhalation of these chemicals leads to lung damage.
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