Wednesday, February 22

If you knew it could kill you would you still use it?

This is very interesting!  I came across this yesterday and had to share it with you.  There has always been a part of me that wonders what the effects that hair relaxers or 'perms' have on the body.
Researchers at Boston University have recently completed a study that suggests a link between hair relaxers and uterine fibroid tumors in women early puberty in young girls.
They followed "more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009 and found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroids among black women may be linked to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxers."
Those stats are astounding!  To think that fibroids may be linked to something we put in our hair to relax it doesn't make me feel very relaxed.  To me that's a huge price to pay to have straight hair.  
Whether you choose to keep your hair relaxed, natural or dread....the thing to remember is to know what you are getting into.  Know what these products are doing to your not only your hair but to your body as well.  For the most part relaxers are not FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved so who knows what fillers or cheaper ingredients companies are using to inexpensively make the 'creamy crack'.
While these studies can only provide us with a suggested link between the use of relaxers and ailments like early puberty and fibroids, it's important for us to know that these risks exist and are very real. Studies of this caliber take years to complete and there haven't been too many studies of this kind (in comparison to other ailments). 
How many of you have watched Chris Rock's documentary 'Good Hair'?   He raises some good points and does some simple experiments with the ingredients found in relaxers.
Question for the relaxed ladies: Do you know what's in your relaxer?  Does that have an effect on your choice to relax your hair?
Question for natural ladies: Why did you go natural? Do the possible effects of the contents of a relaxer deter you from relaxing your hair?
Remember: this is not about relaxed vs natural it's about making informed decisions! 

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WAWYF said...

I shuddered when I read this. I started suffering from fibroids around age 25, while still relaxing my hair. I went natural at age 26, however, the damage may have been done as I had to have a historectomy at age 33. There is a history of fibroids in my family, but I wonder if relaxing my hair contributed to their rapid development? Thank you for bringing this article to light.

April Byrd said...

Thanks for this! My friend cut her hair off and went natural immediately after we watched Chris Rock's "Good Hair". I think it freaked her out. But I've always wanted to be natural ever since I was a little girl so when she did it, I finally got a little more courage to go ahead. I got fustrated with my hair in the middle of washing so I just chopped it off.

I think since a little girl I've always felt that having long, natural hair was a better sign of good health. I've been recently dabbling about whether or not to go back to a perm,because I thought maybe my wanting to be natural was just the result of some long time issues I held. But now with this, I see that I just may have been right on the money. The chemicals of a relaxer will never ever touch my head again! Thanks for sharing!

WingsMassageBdw said...

With the exception of two years in my twenties (I lived in Washington DC then and felt I could embrace my natural beauty), I wore my hair relaxed continuously from the age of around 9 years through 43. I stopped relaxing my hair last March because I wanted to get away from chemicals. I went natural briefly (about 2 years in my 20s when I lived in DC). Rather than returning to the relaxers when I moved back home to Boston MA, I wish I had continued on my natural hair journey. Had I done so, I may not have the health issues I am now dealing with. I am now 44 and dealing with all sorts scary issues due to uterine fibroids. I've also had four fibroadenoma's removed from both breasts starting at the age of 19. Boston University - which happens to be my alma mater - probably needs to study whether there's a link between relaxers and breast fibroids too. As a black woman who is now re-learning how to embrace my own natural beauty versus the standards imposed by society, I see that a big part of the problem is how WE as black people self-impose these so-called standards. The biggest proponents of my going natural (both in my 20s and in my 40s) have been my own family members and other African-Americans. The unkind remarks, head shaking, references to 'nappy' are not only ignorance but also a reflection of our own psychosis when it comes to OUR natural beauty. If we can't see or embrace the beauty in our own selves as God created us, then how can we expect others to see or embrace it? I can honestly say that having chemically straightened hair was the worse health decision I have ever made and I am now paying the price for it in my 40s. Had my mother known then the risks involved I am sure she never would have relaxed my hair at age 9. Had I known the risks I certainly would not have ever chosen to have my own hair relaxed as an adult. I am happy to see that increasingly more black women are choosing to go natural and to not relax their daughters' hair. For me, the cost of trying to fit into the European standard of beauty came at a price too high - my health and bits of pieces of my life.