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Can Hair Relaxers Cause Hair Loss?

If you have curly hair that you’ve been chemically straightening for a long time, you might wonder if using hair relaxers can cause hair loss.

Like most other processes, the answer usually depends on the original condition of your hair, whether it’s been dyed or bleached, and how many other processes you’ve already done. If you end up getting your relaxed hair puffy, check this article.

Can Hair Relaxers Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, hair relaxers can cause hair loss due to the harsh chemicals. Those chemicals break down the hair shaft and damage the hair follicles. Overuse of relaxers can also lead to hair thinning and shedding.

How Do Hair Relaxers Work to Straighten Hair?

hair before and after relaxing

Hair is held together by hydrogen and disulfide bonds. The disulfide bonds are among the strongest naturally occurring bonds in the world.

These bonds must be “broken” or altered, to change the texture of a hair strand. When you relax or straighten your hair, you’re breaking those bonds and resetting them in a permanently straight configuration.

The chemicals in hair relaxers (usually sodium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate, and sodium thioglycolate) generate extremely high heat, which breaks apart the disulfide bonds. Once the bonds are broken, there’s no turning back; the only way to get rid of the straightened hair is by cutting it off.

Relaxed Hair Vs. Natural Hair

Do Chemical Relaxers Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, chemical relaxers can cause hair loss.

Even if you use chemical hair relaxers carefully, they can make your hair weak, dry, and easy to break. And let’s face it, most people who decide to straighten their hair in the first place are probably already dealing with hair that’s curly and dry.

So, if you’re starting out with unhealthy hair and then performing chemical processes on it, there’s a chance that some type of hair loss could occur.

If you want to avoid using hair relaxers, check these viable alternatives.

The Risks of Permanent Hair Loss

The chemicals used to straighten hair are potent, and they are usually applied very close to the roots. If they touch the scalp and remain there too long, they can cause chemical burns.

In the most extreme cases, infection and scarring may occur, and the hair follicles could suffer damage that leads to hair loss and permanent bald spots.

hair relaxers cause hair loss

The Risks of Temporary Hair Loss

Even if your hair isn’t falling out from the follicle after using a chemical relaxer, the strands could still break along their length if they’re damaged and weak. When you bleach or color your hair, or if it’s naturally tightly coiled, it’s already compromised.

And if you’ve done any other chemical processes on it, such as perms or previous straightening or relaxing treatments, the chances of hair loss increase exponentially.

On the other hand, if your hair is healthy and has never been chemically straightened, you may benefit from relaxing it. You’ll enjoy your look and finally be able to achieve certain styling goals that were impossible before.

Whether you choose to use a hair relaxer or not, make sure to keep your hair and scalp as healthy as possible before performing any chemical processes. Also, know how long you can expect the hair relaxer to last. You’ll make it more likely that it will work and less likely that you’ll lose your hair permanently or temporarily.