Hair straighteners or relaxers are creams or lotions that can chemically relax natural curls. Generally, people get their hair straightened by a professional at a salon, or by using relaxer kits at home. In this blog, we will discuss how the toxic chemicals in hair relaxers can have an impact on a woman’s capability to conceive. 

Why Do Women Use Hair Relaxers?

The reasons behind women using hair relaxers are many and varied. There is a lot of societal pressure to adhere to Eurocentric beauty norms. This is one of the primary reasons behind people using hair relaxers. In many schools, there are restrictions on Afrocentric hairdos. This is yet another reason for school girls using hair relaxers. 

What Are the Long Term Effects of Relaxing Hair?

The extent of the impact of hair relaxers on women’s bodies may vary according to the duration of use. Prolonged use of hair relaxers by women is directly linked to higher chances of developing uterine cancer. 

When a person’s hair is exposed to straighteners/relaxers, the protein bonds in the hair are broken. However, such issues can be easily treated with some effective haircare products. But sometimes, hair relaxers can result in scalp burns too! 

Side Effects Caused by Hair Relaxers

The chemical known as “lye” in hair relaxers can cause several side effects. It can lead to damage to the hair and scalp. The relaxers function by penetrating the layers of the hair shaft and then loosening the curled-up hair. This procedure tends to make the hair brittle. It also makes the hair very weak, thus increasing the chances of hair breakage and loss. Hair relaxers can even result in the burning of the skin. At times, permanent scalp damage is also possible! 

The above are some of the hair relaxers’ side effects. Added to these, hair relaxers can have adverse effects on a woman’s ability to conceive. 

“No lye” hair relaxers are also available on the market. But these contain other chemicals, such as calcium hydroxide, which break the hair’s chemical bonds. Thus, “no lye” relaxers cannot be considered safe, and they must be used with as much caution as relaxers having lye.

Is Hair Relaxer Bad for Pregnancy?

The toxic chemicals, such as parabens and phenols in hair relaxers, are endocrine-disrupting components. The endocrine system is closely related to the reproductive system. Therefore, when the chemicals in hair relaxers affect the endocrine system, they automatically disrupt a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Therefore, the answer to the question, “Do hair relaxers affect fertility?” is “Yes, they can.” 

Talking about fertility, there are various ways to improve female fertility. There are also a variety of healthy foods that can be consumed to enhance fertility.  

Handling Hair and Hair Relaxers with Care

Since there are possibilities that hair relaxers can affect a woman’s fertility, it’s best to be on the safer side and restrict their use. If you have already used them a few times, try not to use them frequently in the future. Considering the side effects hair relaxers can cause and their ability to affect fertility, it would be wise to avoid them. Just be proud of your curls and try not to use too many chemicals on them. Keep your hair hydrated and avoid tight ponytails and braids. These simple measures can go a long way in maintaining your hair. And last but not least, refrain from using too many chemicals on your body and hair because they can result in complications, including fertility issues.