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When Your Hair Relaxer Is Toxic

There’s a thoughtful roundup on Our Bodies Our Blog about the dangers of hair products commonly used by black women, and how the mainstream media hasn’t fully covered the story. Read the report by Kat Friedrich and reconsider your beauty regimen:

The ingredients of hair relaxers, which many black women use to straighten their curls, are anything but relaxing. Almost all of the samples of currently available hair relaxers tested by Environmental Working Group (EWG) were ranked highly toxic, although limited information was available. Allergic reactions, hormone disruption, immune system toxicity and organ toxicity were four of the main risks.

In contrast, hair straighteners, which are more commonly used by white women, have generally been considered to be relatively safer. EWG’s website shows most of these products are medium-risk with the highest concerns being allergic reactions, immune toxicity and hormone disruption. These risks are similar to those of the hair polishers which are used by women of color. Continue reading