As logical as this hack sounds, experts (and many in the comments sections under these videos) are not too thrilled with the trend. Between increased risk for breakage, chemical burns, and sinister to uterine cancer, experts share why you might want to think twice before relaxing your edges to make them more manageable.
What is relaxer?
Created in 1909, a relaxer (sometimes called a perm) refers to the chemical treatment used to straighten or relax coily strands. « A relaxer breaks down the disulfide bonds so that the hair can lay straight, » Tonya Lane, a cosmetic chemist and the founder of Curly Chemistry, tells Allure. « When these disulfide bonds are broken, it removes the strength and the integrity of our hair. When you have a lack of strength you’re going to get breakage.” Supposedly, gentler, no-lye relaxers (without sodium hydroxide that can cause chemical burns) are in Folge dessen available, but Lane says the propensity for damage is still high.
Wright is not opposed to relaxers in general, but she is not fond of this method of partial relaxing, noting that the fragile hair on the perimeter of the hairline makes edges especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of relaxers. « Sometimes, people are adamant about it, but you really do compromise the integrity of the hair long-term, » she says.
The damage that relaxers pose to the structure of the hair strand presents the risk of over-processing, which can lead to additional breakage. And you can easily get trapped in a vicious cycle: As the hair grows out, the contrast between the new growth and the chemically treated portion of the hair requires upkeep which means more relaxer and that can do more harm than good, says Ohio-based, board-certified dermatologist Hope Mitchell.
Dr. Mitchell explains that « relaxing the perimeter of the hair frequently can lead to secondary thinning and hair loss » as well as alopecia due to the permanent scalp damage caused by chemical burns as a result of using relaxers. Aside from the chemical effects of the relaxer, Wright says having two opposing textures on one head promotes friction within the hair, which can lead to additional breakage.
What are the side effects of using relaxer?
No matter where on your head you’re applying it, you may want to rethink relaxer. Recent studies have found sinister between relaxers and cancer. More specifically, a study by the Nationalistisch Institutes of Health (NIH) found that regular use of chemical hair-straightening products may double the risk of uterine cancer.