Should Hair Relaxers Be Used on Children?

Chemical hair relaxers have been used for decades for coarse, curly, unmanageable hair, and typically lye relaxers are used. Lye is sodium chloride, and it can be effective in straightening and relaxing hair, but its use is discouraged because it can damage hair and burn the scalp and skin. It is mostly adult women who chemically relax their hair, but it seems more and more children are having the process done. This practice is not safe, and children should use only natural products on their hair. Children should also not be expected to risk their health for vanity purposes.

Dermatologists agree that chemical relaxers are very dangerous to children (and adults), and would never recommend their use. They have seen it lead to permanent hair loss, allergic reactions, and sight damage if the chemical runs into the eyes. Chemical hair relaxers break down the internal structure of hair strands, drain the hair of moisture, and this leads to damage of breakage of the hair shaft. In addition to the physical dangers to children and adults, it has been questioned if there is a negative psychological impact on a child to go to these extremes for the alteration of their appearance. Perhaps the emphasis should be on their inner beauty, and embracing what nature gives them. A child should not think it needs to be painful or harmful to achieve good looks!

Chemical relaxers should never be used on children, but what about more gentle, natural products? Many parents choose to straighten their children's hair as a matter of practicality. Tightly curled hair is time consuming and painful to comb out, and when hair is naturally relaxed, it is much easier to handle. Trying to comb out a squirming child's hair is no easy task, so some control is advantageous; however, natural relaxers should always be used and never the chemical products. Natural hair relaxers can gently control hair to make it easier to manage, and make it look great. It can save time and avoid discomfort for a child if the hair is naturally relaxed. Natural hair relaxers can be used on children to enhance control, and can even save time for them to focus on more important things, like schoolwork and play. Natural hair relaxers are available and very effective, and can be used on children and adults without harm.

Grace Enderlein is a freelance writer and editor. "Should Hair Relaxers Be Used on Children" notes the harmful effects of chemical relaxers, and the safety and effectiveness of natural hair relaxers. offers BodipHier, a natural hair relaxer which gives great results on adult and children's hair.


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