Does straightening damage your hair?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Whether you use heated tools to straighten your hair for an evening out or chemical relaxers to straighten your hair more "permanently," you may be damaging your hair. Relaxer products work by breaking the chemical bonds in the hair. Many contain lye, a caustic substance, but even non-lye relaxers can damage hair if they're mixed incorrectly or left on the hair for too long. It’s extremely important to follow directions carefully to minimize the damage to your hair. Avoid relaxing your hair if your scalp is irritated, as this can worsen the irritation, and wait at least six weeks between treatments to minimize damage to your hair.

Similarly, limit your use of heated styling tools, as these, too, can cause hair to weaken and break, and never let the hair get so hot that it burns. Talk to your dermatologist for more information about ways to minimize risks when straightening your hair.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.