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Chemical Relaxers are Dangerous to Our Health & Psyche

April 16, 2023

Chemical Relaxers are Dangerous to Our Health & Psyche

It is becoming more widely known that the risks of chemical hair straighteners or relaxers cause far more harm beyond short term hairloss and scalp inflammation. Research has shown that they also can cause fibroids, endometriosis, uterine cancer and breast cancer in women.

"A recent 2022 National Institute of Health study found women who used chemical hair straighteners had more than double the risk of uterine cancer compared to women who didn’t use them. Another NIH study In 2019 found women who used chemical hair straighteners had a 30% increase in incidence of breast cancer. Black women are particularly at risk because they use hair straighteners at higher rates than other consumers." (Quoted from a fact checked article written by Michelle Llamas, edited by Amy Edel on consumernotice.org. For the full article, click here.)

While these straighteners vary in strength, toxic chemicals are present in them all to varying degrees. Women are filing lawsuits against companies that have sold relaxers and currently sell relaxers for neglecting to provide warnings to consumers to make informed decisions for their hair styling despite knowing the dangerous health risks involved.

Black women are the leading consumers of chemical relaxers which means that we are more susceptible to the aforementioned illnesses. If one desires to straighten their hair, she should consider the other methods to temporary straightening such as silk presses and other forms of heat styling or stretching. This ensures that her hair can still revert back to its natural state so that her hair can remain versatile while she lessens her health risks drastically. 

Often times black women resort to permanently straightening kinky, curly and coily hair because it's a common belief that natural hair is "too high maintenance" or "too much work". The reality is that many black women simply don't know how to care for their natural hair since so many of our parents relaxed our hair at a young age for their convenience or preference. However, it is important for us to know that we are beautiful with our hair as it grows naturally. Our hair is not an inconvenience or a shortcoming. It is harmful to the psyche of black women to wear their hair straight consistently as if natural black hair is ugly, unacceptable or "less than". So much value is placed on women's appearances so when we believe our appearance isn't desirable, it can severly affect our self worth if we don't intercept these beliefs and create new ones that serve us. Consider who and what may have programmed you to believe that our hair is a problem. This is why hair is not "just hair" and our hair journeys are More Than A Hair Journey. They are self love journeys.

We love changing our hairstyles which can be done without chemically straightening. Natural black hair is the most versatile hair; it can be temporarily straightened and worn in loose styles like afros along with braids, twists, buns, puffs, knots and cornrows. Our hair can be locked which presents a lot of versatility as well, showcased on my YouTube channel. They can also be covered and protected under wigs from time to time.

Choosing to permanently straighten your hair is a dangerous risk we don't have to take. If you are looking for products to support your natural hair growth, keeping it strong and moisturized, check out Love Light & Locs herb infused natural hair products.

Articles referenced:

https://www.consumernotice.org/products/chemical-hair-straighteners/side-effects/
https://www.consumernotice.org/legal/chemical-hair-straightener-lawsuit/

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