Ten pearls every dermatologist should know about the appropriate use of relaxers

Vanessa Richardson, Ada T. Agidi, Erica R. Eaddy, Loretta S. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chemical relaxers are products marketed to straighten the hair and have been principally used by African Americans since the early twentieth century. They contain alkaline agents that break and reform hydrogen and disulfide bonds, leaving hair permanently straightened. Relaxers cause loss of tensile strength and increased fragility of the hair shaft that lead to increased risk of hair breakage and thinning. When used improperly, they can also cause local irritant contact dermatitis and chemical burns to the scalp and hairline that can potentially lead to a scarring alopecia. After interviewing several cosmetology educators in the field and reviewing the literature, we generated a list of ten pearls that all dermatologists should know about relaxers to provide professional guidance to their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-11
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Cosmetic Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • African hair
  • afro-centric hair
  • afro-textured hair
  • chemical relaxers
  • cosmetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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