Black women have been led to believe that their God given hair is ugly and unmanageable and thus making them go on an endless quest of getting a “perfect” straight hair but unknowingly losing themselves, their sense of belonging and personal identity. In recent times, a revolution has begun to help young black women return natural and appreciate their beautiful curly hair. I’m part of this revolution and I want every black queen out there to be too. We dont have to damage our hair to look beautiful. We don’t have to fix a straight hair to look attractive. We are beautiful just the way we are.
I equally understand the struggle of managing an african hair, that is why this blog was created to help the young queen to understand and manage her natural hair without relaxing or heat damaging her afro.
DANGERS OF RELAXING YOUR HAIR
Relaxers change the appearance of hair by altering its chemical makeup. During the relaxing process, the chemical bonds of the hair are broken then reformed into a straight, relaxed pattern. The danger using relaxers include:
This is the most common side effect of hair relaxers, mild scalp irritation presents as redness, itchiness and a slight burning sensations. Some irritation during application is normal. However, symptoms should disappear immediately after the chemicals are rinsed away. This damages the scalp leading to dandruff and other scalp infections.
Chemical burns occur when the chemicals used to break down the hair structure are allowed to remain on the skin long enough for the skin to start to break down and dissolve. Severe chemical burns are not only painful but also can result in secondary infections, permanent hair loss, severe scarring and emotional distress. Chemical burns range in severity from first degree to third degree, with the most extreme burns requiring skin grafts.
Damage occurs when relaxing is performed repeatedly without sufficient time between applications. Damage can also occur if the formula is too harsh or if too much time is allowed for processing. Damaged hair may appear dry, frizzy and dull. Chemical damage also makes hair more susceptible to further damage from the environment, sun, thermal styling tools and styling products.
Breakage and Hair Loss
Once hair becomes overly damaged, it breaks and falls out. If you suffer breakage, stop all use of chemicals to make your hair healthy again. The most common sign of breakage is an overall thinning of the hair. However, some people experience a receding hairline as a result of extreme breakage at the front of the hairline. Although rare, some people even experience heavy, localized loss, resulting in bald spots.
Surprising I know, research has shown that hair relaxing chemicals are dangerous for your health and can literally cause health problems. Filled with very strong chemicals (such as lye), relaxers can affect both hairdressers as well as the ones receiving the relaxers. Breathing in the chemicals on the regular basis or even periodically and over time can cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and other respiratory issues. These symptoms can be all the more damaging to those with preexisting respiratory issues.
Finally, whether to use relaxers, or remain natural is a decision that must be made by each individual. Nevertheless, for those who opt to use relaxers, do keep in mind the risks. What’s more, with other straightening techniques such as henna, stretching the hair, and even the occasional blowout available to Naturalists, it seems, that those who do not opt to permanently alter their hair texture will maintain the highest level of versatility. No matter if you choose to remain natural or venture in the world of creamy crack, remember that properly caring for your hair should always be your top priority!