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Are Hair Relaxers Damaging Your Scalp?

A recent study has revealed how relaxer products, used to straighten hair, can cause permanent damage to the scalp. In this blog, we take a closer look at the findings and offer some recommendations for the Afro-hair community.

A Review of Hair Relaxer Products

According to the study, published in the South African Medical Journal, most commercially-available hair relaxant products could potentially harm the skin.  The team, based at the University of Cape Town’s Hair and Skin Research Laboratory, reviewed 121 hair relaxant formulas sold by retailers in the region. They were all found to have pH levels that could result in skin corrosion, irritation and damage to the scalp. Several of the products were designed for use on children’s hair, which the authors noted was highly concerning, as children’s skin is still developing and even more susceptible to damage than adults.

Should You Stop Using Relaxant Products?

With an estimated 70% of women of African heritage using relaxants to straighten their hair, this type of product is extremely popular. However, this new research is not the first to highlight the risks of applying these chemical formulas. Previous studies have shown that the widespread use of relaxers is linked to the prevalence of alopecia amongst those with Afro hair. Ntombenhle Sishi, a co-author of the Cape Town study, said that relaxers “don’t belong on anyone’s skin.” She also said that the hair industry should be encouraged to seek out alternative solutions to help make curled, coiled or kinky hair more manageable without using toxic chemicals.

Micro Scalp Pigmentation for Afro Hair

Vinci Hair Clinic’s Micro Scalp Pigmentation (MSP) is an innovative solution which is ideal for men and women with Afro hair who have been affected by hair loss. This non-surgical treatment utilises a tattoo-like application of medical-grade pigments to the scalp to disguise bald patches and create the illusion of a full head of shaved hair. It can also be used to create an effect of enhanced density for people with longer hairstyles. If you’d like to learn more about MSP and get personalised advice, contact Vinci Hair Clinic today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.