Chemical burn is one self-inflicted and commonly unintentional cause of hair loss. With the number of options for hair styling and treatments, hair loss due to chemical burns has become a common complaint. Regularly using hair styling methods and treatments such as braiding and straightening can actually cause temporary to permanent damage to the hair shaft and at the growth center of each hair strand. According to Skin Biology, lye or sodium hydroxide has a pH factor of 10 to 14. It penetrates the hair shaft, changing its structure. However, it can simultaneously penetrate the scalp and cause chemical burns
Chemical relaxer burns occur when the scalp is exposed to lye or no-lye relaxer for a long amount of time. Most women have experienced a run in with chemical relaxer burns at one time or another in their lifetime.
Most African-American women use chemical hair relaxers to straighten coarse textured hair to make it more manageable. Unfortunately, some black women get chemical burns accidentally during this beauty regime. Chemical hair relaxers contain sodium hydroxide which is an extremely corrosive acid on the skin.
Someone who notices the burn should thoroughly wash the area with plenty of water and neutralizing shampoo immediately that comes with the relaxer to get rid of any chemical that might be on the wound. One does this to stop further chemical burning that might deepen the wound.
Use cotton balls or a piece of cloth to apply an antiseptic like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to prevent infection of the wound. While applying the antiseptic, gently remove any hair strands that might be stuck in the burn. If you leave in the hair strands, they won’t be easy to remove when a scab forms on the wound; in fact trying to remove hair from the scab might lead to bleeding.
The first thing one need to do in order to aid in the healing process of chemical relaxer burns is to ignore the compulsion to scratch and pick at your scab. This will usually be your first reaction due to the constant itching or odd “presence” on your scalp.
Second action for anyone will need to somewhat detangle the hair that is surrounding and within the scalp burn.
One can apply an antibacterial ointment to a clean cotton swab, and gently apply it directly to the chemical scalp burns. Continue with regular hair care regimen, but use caution. Be gentle when combing and brushing your hair for the next week or so.
There are some natural treatments also for chemically burned hair. One can apply aloe-vera lotion directly to the scalp for minor burns. Massage the clear gel into the scalp for cooling relief. Leave the gel on as long as desired. Eating fresh colorful fruit is also recommended by some hair care specialist.