Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Relaxers: Are they damaging to health?

Relaxers have not only been found to cause dandruff, hair weakening, scalp burns and scarring of the scalp (Olasode Olayinka, 2009)   but according to  this article it can lead to an increased uterine leiomyomata risk. This can eventually result in infertility and other implications.

(click below to continue reading)

The reason that the article suggesting relaxing can lead to an increased risk of uterine leiomyomata is so important, is because it appears to have a good methodological background. For exmaple, the sample size included 23,000 black women of which over 7,000 individuals were found to have uterine leiomyomata. They also use suitable statistics to come to an appropriate conclusion. Researchers found that the more relaxers used the higher the risk that these women would contract uterine leiomyomata. This was found to be unrelated to formula of relaxer and unralted to age of which the relaxer was first applied. Note that although lye relaxers have harsher chemicals than no-lye relaxers there was no difference between the two. Importantly, the number of uses and number of relaxer burns was also associated with an increased risk.

Besides the issues with health that this study found, they also found that 94% of the sample had used relaxers, it was also found that those in white collar jobs, with high income and high educational attainment were more likely to use a relaxer. I find this particularly interesting. Why is this? Is this because those in white collar jobs feel that they have less time to do there hair? Or could it be because in those jobs there is more pressure to look a certain way? What do you think?

The Take Home Message:

  • Lye and no-lye can be considered just as damaging to health.
  • There is a relationship between uterine leiomyonata and increased relaxer use.
  • The more frequently individuals had used a relaxer, the more likely they were to contract uterine leiomyonata. 
  • The more relaxer burns they had the more likely they were to contract uterine leiomyonata.


  • Most of these results are an association (correlation) than a cause effect relationship (causal).
  • Fell free to critique my interpretation.
  • Feel free to read the article yourself. 
  • This is just one journal also blogged about a similar matter

What is your opinion?


  1. Olasode and Olayinka are not two different people. Her name is Olasode Olayinka


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