The hair of black people is elliptical in shape and therefore very tightly curled (Asian hair tends to be round and Caucasian hair is in-between). The relaxer cream breaks down the chemical bonds of the hair shaft, disrupting the elliptical shape and reconstructing the bonds in a different way. Though hair follicles themselves are not damaged, the hair can become very brittle and break off. Cosmetic products are not subject to pre-market approval by the Food and Drug Administration and a complete list of ingredients is not mandatory, however many brands of hair relaxers list phthalate directly as one of their chemical ingredients. Phthalates from cosmetic products can be inhaled or absorbed by the skin and these have been shown to have estrogenic effects in cell models and experimental animals.
Relaxer has also been associated with an increased risk of Uterine Leiomyomata. The incidence of this disease is 2 to 3 times higher in African-Americans compared to Caucasian women, and the risk was not previously explained by established factors. Because relaxers can cause lesions and burns to the scalp, this can facilitate entry of hair relaxer constituents into the body. The main ingredient of "lye" relaxers is sodium hydroxide; while no-lye relaxers contain calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate. No-lye relaxers are advertised to cause fewer scalp lesions and burns than lye-relaxers, but there is little evidence to support this claim.
A way to help prevent scalp or hair damage is wearing one's hair natural, forgoing chemical products entirely.
Have a Good Hair Day and remember to Love Your Hair!!!