The Dark Side of Relaxers: Do You Know What You’re Putting on your Head?

by West Parsons on January 7, 2012

in hair care

As women we are constantly reinventing our hairstyles, testing new products, visiting the hairdresser and doing our follow up hair treatments at home. We generally don’t pay close attention to what goes onto our hair because we trust the brand we use to treat and look after our hair. I came across this article in The Grio online which I thought would be great to share with our readers who relax their hair. Please note that some images contained in this story are graphic. “From the time she was a small child until she was a teenager, Annmarie Spellen chemically straightened her hair — a process that left her nursing burns and scabs on her scalp afterwards. The hospital worker and mother of two from New Jersey said she got burned “all the time” despite using no lye relaxers and having the stylist wash the relaxer out immediately after putting it in.

“I did it for as long as I could,” said Spellen, who has worn her hair in dreadlocks for the past ten years. “I tried, and I just couldn’t do it. It was just too devastating. It was like going through a trauma.” But the scalp burns weren’t the only health problem she experienced following a chemical relaxer.

“I would go home with these massive headaches,” Spellen said. “And I couldn’t understand why.” Black women spend billions annually on beauty products, and many place special emphasis on keeping their hair styled. They buy a third of all U.S. hair care merchandise, according to industry statistics. The black hair care business has ballooned into a multimillion dollar trade.

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