Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, many of us know that our hair styling products have toxic ingredients in them.
From the harsh chemicals in relaxers to damaging ingredients in many items we use daily, there are a lot of bad things in the billion dollar black hair industry that many just aren’t addressing. But could these ingredients be affecting our health?
According to a recent five-year study released by Black Women for Wellness, many of our hair products have serious health consequences. The 60-page report, Natural Evolutions: One Hair Story, shows findings that include early onset puberty as well as respiratory and reproductive issues.
“Girls who reported using chemical hair oils and hair perms were 1.4 times more likely to experience early puberty after adjusting for race, ethnicity, and year of birth. In addition, other studies have linked early puberty to hair detangler use by Black girls. In one of the studies African American girls as young as two years old started showing signs of puberty after using products containing animal placenta found in many detanglers and conditioners.”
The findings were collected from years of research using “literature reviews, focus groups, data collection and interviews with African American beauty professionals to determine chemical exposure and correlating health status, of hair care products directed at Black women.”
Although they did not target any products in particular, the study did explain that products that are both marketed and used by Black women are rarely researched for toxic health consequences. However, when they are, they are found to be some of the most toxic beauty products on the market. Harmful ingredients include: formaldehyde, ammonia, bleaching agent, DMDM hydantoin, linalool methylparaben and propylparaben. With these ingredients causing negative health effects like respiratory disorders and reproductive developmental issues — including infertility and spontaneous miscarriages — there’s a lot we have to be on the look out for when it comes to hair products.
Check out the full report here, and feel free to share with one of your girlfriends.