DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Relaxers and other hair-straightening products could be leaving local stores and hair salons as the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on products containing certain cancer-causing chemicals.
Relaxers straighten hair and permanently remove curls. Some like them, but others do not due to the hair damage it causes. Now, the FDA is concerned about how these products could be causing cancer.
FDA researchers looked at 30,000 women over 11 years. They discovered that women who used chemical straightening products more than four times a year were twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. They were also at a greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.
LaShawn Fields, Owner of the I Heart Beautique hair salon in Decatur, said relaxers have been common for years.
“If they say it’s not safe to use, then, I mean, it’s up to us to research something, to find an alternative,” she said.
Fields’ daughter, Shariah Taylor, has been around hair since she was born. Just like her mother, she is also a cosmetologist. Taylor said the industry has grown and now provides several different options.
“We do have alternatives. So if you don’t want to take the relaxer route, we use CHI products as well, which is a protein treatment that could give you some benefits of a relaxer, but not as harsh as a relaxer,” she said.
She said a CHI product they use is CHI Enviro. It’s different from a relaxer because it is not permanent and only lasts a couple months.
“I feel like it’s pretty much equal. People have their pros and cons with relaxers and the CHI treatment,” Taylor said. “Some people get the CHI treatment and are like, ‘No, I got to go back to relaxers.’ And then that’s when we come in with, ‘Let’s not get them as often as we used to get them.'”
Fields has been doing hair for 20 years. She said that throughout her trials and errors, she learned you just have to know your customer.
“I recommend all the products, just depending on a person’s lifestyle and how they take care of their hair,” Fields said. “As a professional, you should be able to tell your client which products to use or what’s better for their hair.”