Signs of a damaging relaxer

By Drum Digital
05 September 2014

If you experience any of the following during or soon after a relaxer treatment, you may be suffering damage to your hair and/or scalp.

While a well-maintained relaxer can provide versatility and easier maintenance, a badly done relaxer can cause irreparable damage.

Unfortunately, some of the warning signs are accepted as par for the course.


Don't think that the pain only happens when a relaxer is left on too long. Your scalp may be sensitive to a certain formulation and leaving it on for even the minimum time period can cause severe pain. Burning is not normal.

Sores on Scalp

The sores may ooze fluids and/or crust over. This is a serious sign of damage that could lead to infection and/or permanent hair loss. You might develop sores due to a reaction to the chemicals, no matter how long they're left on your head. You might be allergic or the relaxer may be low-quality. Any relaxer that causes a break in the skin should not be used.


Over-processing is a major cause of hair thinning. Continuing to apply chemicals to already thin hair or damaged follicles may eventually lead to baldness. Instead of trying to relax hair as straight as possible, which often leads to limp tresses that don't hold a style well, cut the time you leave relaxers on. You'll have more body and volume and lessen the chance of damage.


If it seems like your hair isn't growing, it's possible that it's breaking at the same rate (or faster than) it grows. If you constantly find short hairs lying around after styling, this is probably breakage instead of shedding.


Oil sheens, sprays and lotions don't actually add moisture; they're designed to hold it in, but hair needs to be moist before adding products. Otherwise, they simply sit on top of the hair shaft and help to keep moisture at bay.


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