I’d like you to have a burn free relaxer-day…Joann
I started relaxing my hair about 10 years ago, with beautiful beginning relaxer kit, a brand of dark and lovely. It was really mild on my hair, so I never experienced severe burns. Just mild burns and on one or two occasions blisters- but the joy of having freshly relaxed hair took away the pain. Back then, after applying relaxer on my hair, the hairdressers would say “If it starts hurting you, tell me” then after 15 mins, I’ d be like “It’s hurting” The next thing I would hear is ” No oh, it’s not yet ‘done’, give it 10 mins”Anyways, I can’t blame them cos my natural hair is thick and ‘stubborn’ , so the hairdressers those days would just leave the relaxer on my hair for so long till it gets ‘done’, Hence the burns and eventual pain. Now in hindsight, I figured out the cause of such pain……
CAUSES OF RELAXER BURN
The common cause of scalp burn is when the relaxer is left on the hair for longer than necessary. Always ensure your hairdresser follows the time indicated on the relaxer instructions.
Sodium hydroxide is the active ingredient in relaxers with a pH of 9-14; it burns on contact with the skin. Little wonder, hairdressers wear gloves whenever they apply relaxer on the hair.
So you need to neutralize your hair and scalp (with a neutralizing shampoo) immediately after, so it returns to its normal pH of 5.
DEGREES OF RELAXER BURN
It ranges from mild burns to severe wounds with some hair sticking on the scalp.
There are several degrees of burns;
#1. Mild burns-first degree: Hair is stuck to the scalp with inflammation and redness . Recovers within 3-7days.
#2. Medium burns-second degree: Blisters in several patches, no blood, just pain,redness and stuck hair. Recovers in a week or two.
#3. Severe burns-third degree: The pain is unbearable,may cover the entire outer layer of skin with blood stains, pus or water coming out of the scalp. It may take years to recover
It’s advisable to stay off relaxers (for a while) if you fall into this category. Probably a year (depending on the severity). Remember, it’s a wound/burn and should be treated as such. Avoid using anything alcohol on it and seek medical attention ASAP.
When you need to wash, cleanse with black soap cos it has antibacterial properties, very mild and helps in quick healing.
CURE FOR RELAXER BURN
STEP#1: Wash with a neutralizing shampoo to stop the action of relaxer on the hair.
STEP#2: Deep condition using a moisturizing protein mixed with olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil to loosen up hair stuck to the scalp.
STEP#3: Apply Aloe Vera to burn area. If you have mild burns, Shea butter, castor oil would work well as an alternative.
For severe burns, visit a dermatologist or a doctor. JBCO (Jamaican Black Castor Oil), Aloe Vera gel, Vitamin E oil would do a lot of good.
STEP #4: Avoid scratching or irritating the scalp in any way to prevent inflammation.
PREVENTION OF RELAXER BURN
Prevention is always better than cure
- Never ever let an amateur relax your hair for you; this has caused more hair loss than you can imagine.
- DON’T LET THE RELAXER STAY ON YOUR HAIR BEYOND THE RECOMMENDED TIME (which is usually between 10-20mins)
- Base/protect your scalp with oil or heavy Butter especially if your scalp is sensitive. (JBCO or shea butter is recommended) Vaseline and olive oil are also very good.
- Avoid the use of harsh relaxers on your hair. If your hair is fine, don’t use the relaxer for coarse hair.
- Don’t let water (either from swimming or rain) touch your hair at least 4-7days before the relaxer day- 7 is most advisable.
- Avoid scratching your scalp days before retouching.
- While relaxing your hair, your stylist should not start from your scalp, s/he should begin at least 1/8 inch from your scalp. Will my hair still relax? Yes it will, the relaxer would definitely spread to those areas. So don’t worry, the edges would still be laid.
Relaxers are meant for hair not scalp, so if yo stylist starts applying relaxer to your scalp, don’t sit there smiling at the mirror, DIAL 911!!!
Okay, just kidding…..bout the 911 part.