As if you needed another reason to go natural…  A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology links the use of hair relaxers with uterine fibroids.  I first learned of this story through a Fox News report in Houston, TX where a reporter visited a local hair salon asking women about their thoughts on the correlation.  My feelings about the use of chemical straighteners are clear — I would never use it on my hair again, and would never allow any future child of mine to be subjected to it either.  My mom relaxed my hair when I was about 7 or 8 years old and I continued the act of self-hatred until I was 18.  Choosing to grow out my hair in 1995 was a pivotal point in developing my own sense of self as there were no YouTube tutorials, blogs, or hair products dedicated to natural black hair to support my decision.  Reactions from friends and family on my decision to do the big chop were met with blank stares and gasps of disgust.  I cut my own relaxer off with a pair of household scissors in my mama’s bathroom after the relaxed part of my hair melted together after washing it (I still don’t know how that happened…).  I went from having long straight hair down past my shoulders, to a few inches of puffiness that seemed to not follow any pattern or sense of logic.  My mother responded with tears.

Relaxers = Fibroids?

You may be asking yourself the question, “If you stopped perming your hair in 1995, why did you develop fibroids?”  I have 2 responses to that.  ONE — linking hair relaxers to fibroids does not mean the same thing as relaxers directly causing fibroids.  All this means is that the relationship between the two is significant enough to do more research on the topic.  TWO — I permed my hair religiously every 4 to 6 weeks for about 10 years.  That’s roughly 100 applications of the highest strength hair relaxer (I always had thick hair that wouldn’t lie down right without the strong stuff…) on a young body that had not finished fully developing.  Remember that whatever you choose to put on your scalp and skin seeps directly into your pores, your bloodstream, and your brain.  Fibroids do not develop overnight in your uterus; they take YEARS to develop and possibly more years to actually develop symptoms.  I did not notice changes in my menstrual cycle until I was about 22 years of age — so I could have been 15 or 16 when they began to develop.  Add to the fact that I grew up eating an unhealthy, meat and carb filled diet and it is easy to see that the damage had already been done.

FDA: A Respectable Standard?

The Fox News story gives a sound byte from a natural hair stylist who says that the haircare industry is not regulated by the FDA and therefore just about anything can be put into them without regard to safety.  Truthfully, I don’t believe the FDA’s standards serve as any real stamp of approval for us to follow.  Afterall, genetically modified foods and animals are regulated by the FDA.  On the other hand, there a thousands of beneficial herbs that have been used in traditional medicine for generations that are not regulated by the FDA at all.  The only way to judge if a product is safe for you to use is to do your own research.

Many of us continue with the harmful practice of hair relaxing because we think it is expected of us — and that’s a shame.  Black women are so desperate for public approval that we are willing to sacrifice our own fertility to get it.   I learned to stop looking for public approval when I made the decision to cut my relaxer off.  Because at the end of the day, if I don’t accept myself in its natural state, I will never be acceptable to anyone else.

Do you want to learn how to live more naturally while healing yourself of fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, etc.?  Click here to learn more about my 6-month women’s health coaching program.

Halona Black is a Women’s Health Coach, Writer, and Personal Chef. She is currently offering free, private health consultations to women interested in talking about their experience with fibroids and other reproductive health challenges. If you are interested, you can complete a health history form and Halona will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your responses.

14 Responses to Hair Relaxers Linked to Fibroids

  1. Kim says:

    I’m never going natural. I have my hair relaxed every 8 weeks. Relaxer cream isn’t left on the hair long enough to penetrate the scalp. This article was not enough to convince me otherwise.

    • If you choose to perm, that is your right. However the Bible in Hosea 4:6 says, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”. Everything that touches your skin and scalp has an opportunity to soak in no matter how long you put it on for. That goes for the water you shower in (and all the toxins in it), the lotions you put on your body, to the detergent you wash your clothes with. Your skin has pores which are holes that allow environmental toxins to get in, and hopefully get out through sweat if your body is in balance. And that little bit of petroleum jelly (derived from petroleum which is used to make gasoline and diesel fuel) you line your scalp with to prevent burns and scabs does nothing but add to the toxins sitting on your scalp. But hey, if you want to perm, go right ahead! :) I appreciate your comment, sis.

      • Erica Pulley says:

        I don’t think you should be pushing your beliefs on others. If you don’t want to use relqxers that’s your thing but don’t push it on others. Just because it does not work for you does not mean it want work for someone else. I have had a relaxer since I was 10 and I have not had any health problems or scalp problems. I have clients that have had scalp problems I have suggested that they stop getting relaxers. But for health reasons only. You quote the bible then you know you should not push your beliefs on anyone else.

        • Hi Erica! I appreciate the time you took to comment on my blog post. However, I never set out to push my beliefs on others. This is my blog, my business, my little piece of paid internet space. The whole purpose of a blog is to express your opinion. You do not have to agree with mine — as a matter of fact, disagreement is what makes life interesting. The fact that you think I am pushing my beliefs on you makes me think that perhaps I was successful at my attempt at trying to sway your opinion in my direction. Either way, I appreciate your comment. I invite you to become a subscriber.

  2. Kim says:

    Thanks for the Bible verse. While I do have my hair relaxed, I bring my own base which is a mixture of coconut & jojoba oil. I relax my hair because it’s easier to maintain as I travel a lot and prefer a short, sleek bob that I can wrap.I don’t use petroleum jelly or products with pj. Aside from relaxing my hair, I use 95% organic products, soon to be 100% when I switch to natural makeup next month.

    • That is wonderful that you choose to use many other natural products. However, I still cannot support the use of a chemical so harsh that it has the potential to burn the skin clear off your head out of sheer convenience.

  3. Lisa says:

    I am in the process of going natural. Firstly, I wanted to comment the two of you for a positive exchange. I’ve visted other natural websites (blogs and facebook pages) and have asked questions. No one replies, or even acknowledges my inquiries. I relax 1-2 times a year, but lately I’ve noticed alot of breakage and thinning. I also have three young daughters, and I must say, I am very jealous of their hair! I’m very glad that this article has come out. I believe that the chemicals used in relaxers are extremely dangerous. I also learned about Petroleum Jelly. I’ve used if for decades on my face! Now I’m hearing that you shouldn’t! My goodness, I obviously have a lot to learn!

  4. Auriella says:

    Connecting the dots. Thanks much for bringing to my attention something that is contributing to my fibroids. Had stopped relaxing sometime ago. And actually had not done it for that long a period in my life. Knew it wasn’t the best thing to do for my body, but didn’t know it would show up this way with fibroids. Now I can see the correlation along with some other things that had happened in my life – like stress. My diet never was that bad. I always pretty well. Now it is even better. Thanks again for your article and helping me to connect the dots.

  5. Auriella says:

    Also would like to ask if you have a recipe book for the great dishes you have posted?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Auriella! Thank you so much for commenting! I am working on a fibroid diet book that will be full of great recipes. If you subscribe to my blog on the right hand side of my page, you will be the first to learn about it.

  6. [...] quite frequently and ask me what I put in my hair.  I have written once before on this blog about my route to natural hair care.  I don’t like to write about hair much because I think the blogosphere is chock full of [...]

  7. [...] You may be asking yourself the question, “If you stopped perming your hair in 1995, why did you develop fibroids?” I have 2 responses to that. ONE — linking hair relaxers to fibroids does not mean the same thing as relaxers directly causing fibroids. All this means is that the relationship between the two is significant enough to do more research on the topic. TWO — I permed my hair religiously every 4 to 6 weeks for about 10 years. That’s roughly 100 applications of the highest strength hair relaxer (I always had thick hair that wouldn’t lie down right without the strong stuff…) on a young body that had not finished fully developing. Remember that whatever you choose to put on your scalp and skin seeps directly into your pores, your bloodstream, and your brain. Fibroids do not develop overnight in your uterus; they take YEARS to develop and possibly more years to actually develop symptoms. I did not notice changes in my menstrual cycle until I was about 22 years of age — so I could have been 15 or 16 when they began to develop. Add to the fact that I grew up eating an unhealthy, meat and carb filled diet and it is easy to see that the damage had already been done. http://garlicandlemonsllc.com/health-and-wellness/hair-relaxers-linked-to-fibroids/ [...]

  8. shae says:

    Hello I’m Shae and I have developed pcos I’ve been tryn to have kids but I’m working on da situation with my doctor but my question to y’all or who ever that can really help me what can I use to go natural is it just grease or anything else I really need to knw so I can start going natural

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