While the Natural Hair Movement continues to flourish, studies continue to show that the drawbacks of relaxers and other chemical ingredients found in black hair products cause serious health risks.
By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
In a time when more black women are learning to adore their natural curls and kinks like nobody’s business, a multitude of recent studies are now showing the advantages of natural hair are more than cosmetic ones. As the number of black women affected by Breast Cancer continues to rise, researchers continue to dig and scramble to find the causes of the increase in the numbers. Originally thought to be merely genetic, it is evident that black women may also find themselves subjected to various forms of illnesses due to the intake of too many chemicals. More specifically, the toxic chemicals found in most of our products and relaxers targeted to African American women are now being linked to cancer and other health issues.
A 2009 study in the Journal of Epidemiology studied more than 23,000 pre-menopausal African American women. The results concluded that the two to three times higher rate of fibroids may be linked to chemical exposure at the hands of burns and scalp lesions that are usually a result of relaxers.
Another interesting finding was the connection black hair products have to uterine fibroids.
Women who had their first menstrual period before age 10 are at high risk at developing uterine fibroids, and studies show black hair products can cause black girls to have periods before age 10.Most of the black hair products targeted to black girls and black women contain Placental Extracts, Benzophenones and additional UV screens, and Parabens. These are the same chemicals that have also been proven to cause Breast Cancer.
While many blindly suggest that hair relaxers are merely just a crutch the insecure rely on, it’s more important that people begin to educate black women about the dangers of relaxers versus assuming the reasons they continue to use them.
To avoid any health risks and various forms of cancer, it is imperative that black women pay attention to the labels on the products they take into their bodies.