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Curly Nikki

Are Your Hair Products Harming You?

By January 27th, 202129 Comments

Are Your Hair Products Harming You?
Charnika of NaturallyCurly writes;

Hair care products might not be as safe as you’d assume them to be.

“My staple products consisted of relaxers, oil sheen and pink hair lotion, so it could be any number of things,” says Yvette McCormick, speaking about her diagnosis of endometriosis, a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus—the endometrium—grows outside your uterus.

While she can’t be certain of what caused her disorder, McCormick, a 37-year-old administrative assistant, believes that her regular use of beauty products that were full of harmful ingredients caused her to have this disorder. She was diagnosed a year ago.

“My doctor said there is no way of telling what caused me to have endometriosis,” McCormick says, “but now that I know of all the toxic and harmful chemicals I was putting into my body, and onto my hair, I believe there is a chance some of the hair products I was using on a regular basis were the culprit.”

Read more…


  • Anonymous says:

    @Miss Tasha – um I don't know about fibroids and hair products. Sure there might not be studies that address that area, but among the causation of fibroids are stress and heridity. I have relatives who developed them and they were not relaxed.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't think it is that naive to think that putting something on your skin can harm you, if people are getting cancer from being in the sun too long. I definitely believe that our skin is the first line of defense, but I also realize we have pores on our skin that open and close.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree that hair products for naturals, relaxed, jheri curl, texturizers, etc. all contain ingredients that are harmful for us, but it doesn't stop there. We all have to realize the world we live in is full of toxins and the fact that we come into contact with a significant amount of pollutants in the air we breathe, food we eat, water we bathe in, clothes we wear, etc. I try to encourage people to be more informed, and leave it as that.

    In life, I have to constantly remind myself that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. Additionally, it is hard to give up a lot of the things I have become attached to, yet I am beginning to realize that I am more attached to myself than things. We all make changes in our lives at our own time, and all you can do is try to inform people.

  • Betty Boop says:

    I agree with those who have said the post is rather irresponsible of the author. It is alarmist and serves no purpose at all.

    Ignorance is unbecoming, whether to a woman who relaxes her hair, or one who is natural.

  • Anonymous says:

    Might I also add, people assume that "natural" products are without risk or potential problems which is naive. I actually find it more risky to slather on all the "natural" body butters and creams that every natural advocate is whipping up in her kitchen and selling over the internet. Who knows what is in that stuff, how it is handled, the cleanliness of the facilities etc.

  • Unknown says:

    I have developed rosacea, dermatographism and I have had fibroid tumors removed, grow back and removed again. When I developed the dermatographism, I stopped the relaxers. I still have it and there is no "fix it" pill for it and it can go away at anytime or I'll have it for the rest of my life. I seriously feel that some hair products have contributed to some of the conditions I've developed over time.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is really poorly thought out and written. Its fine to talk about chemical concerns but to try to make this correlation between several different chemical products and a health condition with a complex etiology, is foolish.

  • Anonymous says:

    If anyone is interested in researching further see the documentary "America the Beautiful". I do not know if what the author wrote has any correlation to her diagnosis but what I do know is that the FDA has not banned a lot of products that should be banned. Any products that contain phaletes (which alot of them do ranging from lotions, makeup, hair products, etc.) are extremely harmful and have been proven to cause cancer, and most of the beauty companies list their ingredients as "trade secrets" and by the FDA's approval because they are listed as "trade secrets" they do not have to disclose on the product label. We all need to be careful pretty much, if it's not in the hair products it could be in the makeup, lotion, facial cleansers, soaps, fragrances, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was cruising the link provided in the NC article, WOW…nearly all of my everyday products are listed with some sort of hazard ranking…from 1 up to 8+. Are there ANY products out there we can use and feel safe? I will have to do some more research on this one because the stats on the site are staggering and scary. I'm not believing the hype just yet and I will be doing my homework.


  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, okay. Ummm… I don't think there is a correlation whatsoever. Ladies, don't believe the hype. Hair products, lotions, lipstick, perfume, whatever, will not give you a disease. *Sigh. But it's your choice to believe what you want. But when you throw all your products away, can you send them to me :)

  • Anonymous says:

    come onnnnn! relaxers damage you're hair and scalp but they don't cause you to have painful best friend and her mom both have endometriosis…never been relaxed…its more hereditary than anything else…and if relaxers were the cause of this issue i think a lot more black females would be diagnosed with this and thats not the case


  • Anonymous says:

    So many of the claims made in the article are a stretch to be sure.

    And the way that the article is written shows that the author clearly knows nothing about science, medicine, or research, b/c if you wanted to write an informed article about this, you'd do a bit of homework. And the fact that so many readers are ill-informed about how the body works means that they're likely to believe the claims.

    For the record, black women are hardly the only people slapping all kinds of things on their skin and hair. And while some of those things aren't ideal, it's foolish to suggest that natural hair will save you from all health crises. You'll find the same ingredients in most things that you use…lotions, creams, makeup, etc. Why not stop using them all if you are so afraid? You do realize that lots of natural products that you use contain toxins and things that can be absorbed into your body as well don't you? Just b/c something is man-made doesn't make it more harmful.

    Skin is a great barrier, and it takes a lot to penetrate it b/c you are exposed to a lot on a daily basis.

    Like so many things, it's also true that there is a HUGE difference between being exposed for a matter of moments, and a matter of hours for example. Again, it's how the skin works to protect you.

    You have to love the fact that out of all of the bad and unhealthy habits people have, they want to give natural hair the power to trump everything else.

    Oh, and endometriosis is more common in white women than black…

  • Carla says:

    Like someone else mentioned, its not just what we put on our hair. Its also our skin, face, perfume, the products we use in our home. Fabric softeners alone are one of the most toxic household products one can use. That "new car smell". What we eat in drink, etc. The list goes on…

  • Anonymous says:

    Vonnie @ socialitedreams your comment was so insensitive negativity doesn't help anyone

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with anon 10:50. Prolonged usage of chemicals and toxins on the skin will eventually get absorbed and since most of these chemicals haven't really stood the true test of time to see how it affects people in the long run. One can't be too sure to say that it couldn't lead to endo.How often have we seen commercials pushing for the new wonder drug only to have a legal disclaimer saying that the new drug is ununsafe and causes toes to sprout from your head. Plain and simple there's no way to say that these toxins don't lead up to effects such as this. Put the claws back in ladies. I thought it was a thoughtful article.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you Lili!! Often food and food allergies are overlooked in making a diagnosis. Since this is a hair care site, this article seems to embellish the idea that once again, natural hair care can save you from every medical crisis. Please stop posting these far reaching, theoristic articles that do nothing but serve to alarm women. We've all heard deodorant causes cancer…did she research that too or does she feel that only using a relaxer is at fault here?

  • Anonymous says:

    The skin doesn't absorb every thing yes but the pores in your skin can get some nasty things in your blood stream. Think about it there is the patch for birth control and to stop smoking, place them on your skin and your body absorbs the hormones or the medicine and you use these over time. So over time if you use harmful products over and over again it can get it through your skin. Not all things are caused by products we use some comes with heredity or other issues. For some people the toxins in some hair products could cause problems they have no clue about, but so can so many other things. The food we eat, the things we drink and so on. I will admit since i have gone natural i have changed a few other things in my life also, from eating habits to other beauty products i use, an started reading the labels. only because i have developed allergies and my skin is getting more sensitive as i age. If i can't pronounce it, it doesn't have a common name or i have no clue what so ever what it is i wont get it, and i'm still taking a chance buying even if it's natural, Back to my point yes the things we put on our skin and hair can affect some and not others, and can make you sick.

  • Lili says:

    I work in the healthcare field and while I agree we need to be cautious about what we put on our bodies- heck! what we also put INTO our bodies; alluding that hair care products cause endometriosis is irresponsible. Millions of women suffer from this condition which has been researched extensively. I guess because it is still poorly understood people feel the need to fill in the blanks and create a cause for their condition. Still does not make it so or we might as well all say that any disease out there which is still poorly understood is due to 'toxis' from hair products etc

  • Dolores says:

    This article demonstrates absolutely no correlation between hair products and health problems. I know black women have issues with hair but, geeze, do we have to blame it on everything?!?

  • Anonymous says:

    Products certainly can have harmful effects. I am prone to migraines with all of the usual triggers, including strong odors. I started using curls souffle a while back for my braid outs (it has a potent vanilla smell). From day one I had a throbbing headache which would gradually fade as the day progressed. At first, I wasn't sure what was causing it. Then one night I sat down to re-braid and as soon as I opened the jar the headache returned. I researched all of the ingredients and there were only two possible culprits, the fragrance or the preservative phenoxyethanol (which is listed as a neuro-toxin). After using another strong scented product and having the same effect, I know believe that the fragrance was the cause. But, I still set out on a mission to use products that are as close to a 100% natural as possible, without sacrificing frizz control and the like. At the end of the day, I'm just not feeling all of the chemical/chemically engineered ingredients, that may or may not have side effects. In the long run I know I'll be better off.


  • DrChuck24 says:

    ^^ yup tia true. The skin is the first line of defense against toxins. I don't know about this article. I feel like yes you should definitely be cautious of everything you use from lotions to food to pharmaceutical drugs to hair products. I would definitely check the ingredients in all the products you use to make sure that they are not too harmful. Look at the whole Keratin treatment thing that went down causing headaches and stuff.

    Ladies and Gents…please do your own research.

  • Anonymous says:

    I understand that she's probably desperate for an explanation, but this woman sure is stretching it.

    And no, the skin doesn't absorb everything we put on it. We're not amphibians. Human skin is highly impermeable, which is why it's the body's first line of defense against toxins, pathogens, etc.

  • Dawn Michelle @ Minimalist Beauty says:

    This is a major concern for all beauty products, not just hair products!!! Most are aware that relaxers are awful, but not everyone thinks about their lotions, lipstick, toothpaste, nail polish, deoderant, etc. A great video to check on YouTube is "The Story of Cosmetics."

    It is so important for women to understand that because the beauty industry is geared towards us, we are the ones effected the most. Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything that we put on it. The Cosmetic Database is a great site for researching what exactly is in your cosmetics and how toxic it is.

  • shalini says:

    hair and skin products can be harmful, however, this is bad reporting at its best. and ridiculous too.

    "there is no way of knowing what caused my endometriosis" according to the doctor. yeah. i woiuld go with the doctor. what about people who do not relax who have had endometriosis?

    besides, part of the reason the skin is a very good organ is that it lets VERY FEW things through. very few things have molecules small enough to penetrate the skin.

    this is getting too much.

  • Kim B says:

    I have endo and never relaxed and dont use many products so I am not too sure we can blame products alone. I have had endo since I was 19 and I am now 33…not saying that products dont cause damage but this is the first time I have ever heard this.

  • Annie L. says:

    Unfortunately the FDA is practically corporate run and other countries aren't much better and sometimes tragically worse at regulating ingredients in commonly consumed food and personal care items. I'm glad people are being more vigilant about research and demanding transparency and accountability from companies. I'm sorry to read about Charnika's diagnosis and many others, it may or may not be related…but I would err on it being so.

  • socialitedreams says:

    ya think? people slap any old thing onto themselves, namely toxic relaxers, then are shocked that something that can melt a freaking pop can could possibly cause them harm.


  • Anonymous says:

    Anything that you put on your skin, it gets into your bloodstream.

  • DrChuck24 says:


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