Hair straighteners may be great for quickly gaining a new and stylish look, but you should know about their potential hazards. Many of us bombard our hair with toxic chemicals and tools that can cause burns and cancer. Moreover, all the ongoing research points towards an increased risk of illnesses and hair and scalp damage. That’s why it’s essential to know the facts before you jump on the hair straighteners bandwagon. Keeping your hair and scalp healthy is essential to our overall health.
Why You Need To Protect Yourself From The Dangers Of Hair Straightners
Below, we will look at some of the causes and dangers of using hair straighteners and how to avoid them. Sadly, black women can experience greater risk due to the higher use of these products. “The bottom line is that the exposure burden appears higher among Black women,” Chandra Jackson, an author of the study and researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute estimates that among women who did not use hair-straightening chemical products in the past 12 months, 1.6% developed uterine cancer by age 70. Moreover, about 4% of the women who frequently use such hair-straightening products developed uterine cancer by age 70.
Let’s look at some of the illnesses associated with using hair straighteners and how you can protect yourself.
1 – Severe Burns From Flat Or Curing Irons
Hair tech has come a long way during the past few decades, with pros and cons. As you know, any flat iron or hair straightener mustn’t touch the skin. As a result, these tools can cause severe burns and damaged hair.
Therefore, any hot plates mustn’t come into contact with your face, scalp, or neck when using straighteners. Unfortunately, most adults are careful in the way they use straighteners to prevent burns from happening. And many people don’t consider how potentially harmful hair straighteners can cause burns.
But, sadly, most who experience burns from hair straighteners are children, which means moms need to ensure they keep hair straighteners out of the reach of their kids. Also, bear in mind some straighteners take a long time to cool down, so children should never be present when your straighteners are still hot and left unattended.
Also, remember that children can experience much worse burns from hair straighteners than adults because their skin can be up to fifteen times thinner than the skin of adults. Most hair straightener burns among children occur when the kids grab, touch, or tread on the hot plates.
To prevent injury, buying a top-quality flat iron with many 5-star reviews is a good idea. You’ll also want to keep the heat low so as not to burn your hair or skin. Furthermore, always use a top-rated heat mat while styling your hair. Using one will help avoid placing your hot flat iron on surfaces that can melt or catch fire easily. Finally, unplug your iron after use and always keep it dry and away from water.
2 – Uterine Cancer From Hair Straighteners
You might find it surprising to learn that the chemicals and relaxers in hair straighteners could potentially cause uterine cancer. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who use hair straightening chemicals frequently are twice as likely to develop uterine cancer compared to those who don’t use hair straighteners.
Recently, many people filed lawsuits claiming that the chemicals people use with hair straighteners increase uterine cancer risks. Jennifer Mitchell filed the first in Illinois. Her lawsuit alleged exposure to phthalates and other chemicals in her hair relaxers led to her developing endometrial cancer at the young age of twenty-eight, which resulted in her having a complete hysterectomy before she turned thirty.
So, if you regularly use hair straighteners and relaxers, you should undoubtedly consider reducing your frequency of usage.
3 – Hair Follicle Damage From Hair Straighteners
While damage to hair follicles isn’t anywhere near as severe as burns or cancer, hair follicle damage remains a potential hazard of using hair straighteners regularly, and it is one hazard that many women overlook.
Applying heat regularly to your hair can damage the follicles, and the chemicals used in permanent hair straightening can do untold amounts of damage to your roots.
If you already have weak hair roots and use hair straighteners frequently, you could find your hair begins to fall out and experience permanent hair loss.
Even if you don’t experience something as serious as hair loss, frequent use of hair straighteners can cause other damage, such as dry, flaky, and itchy skin on your scalp.
4 – Allergic Reactions From Hair Straighteners
Some people experience allergic reactions from the chemicals used in permanent hair straightening treatments. Such reactions can irritate your scalp and skin and cause redness around your eyes. Always do a test patch before applying any chemicals to your hair and scalp. And follow manufacturers’ guidelines for safety and effectiveness.
5 – Fires
We mentioned earlier how hair straighteners could cause burns. But it is most definitely worth noting that they can also cause fires. Straighteners and other electrical beauty appliances, such as curling tongs left on, cause tens of thousands of house fires. So, never forget to turn off your hair straighteners after use.
Just as necessary is remembering that straighteners can take up to forty minutes to cool down, so ensure you don’t leave them unattended until they cooled. If left near flammable items, you could accidentally start a fire because you haven’t taken the time to ensure your straighteners have cooled down.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, using a heat-proof pouch is the easiest and safest way to store your hair straighteners after use.
We all know hair loss can feel painful and often traumatic. Although it’s scary discovering clumps of hair in our drains, we don’t need to panic. Furthermore, it’s important to know we typically shed anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. While that might not make it any more comforting, everyone’s hair growth varies.