How to treat relaxer burns

Written by marisa swanson
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How to treat relaxer burns
Hair relaxers take naturally curly hair to straight with the use of harsh chemicals. (long hair image by Pavel Vlasov from

Hair relaxers use strong chemicals to change the curl pattern deep inside the shaft of your hair. If these chemicals are left on the scalp for too long, your scalp may suffer a chemical burn. The severity of the burn depends on how long the hair relaxer is left on your head. Signs of a chemical burn are an itching or burning sensation on your scalp. To treat a chemical burn on your scalp, you must have patience to let the burn heal without inflicting any further damage.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Vaseline or aloe
  • Gentle shampoo
  • Deep moisturising hair conditioner

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  1. 1

    Allow your burn to dry and scab. Resist the urge to itch the burn, touch it, comb it or wash it right away. Initially, it's best to let it dry and allow the skin to scab over. Do not pick at scabs, allow them to fall off naturally.

  2. 2

    Use a gentle shampoo followed by a deep moisturising conditioner after your scalp has dried. When massaging the shampoo and conditioner in to your hair, avoid using your nails on your scalp. Instead, use the pads of your finger tips to gently massage the products into your hair.

  3. 3

    Do not apply any heat to your hair such as a blow dryer or a flat iron. Allow wet hair to air dry.

  4. 4

    Apply vaseline or aloe, in between washings, to the area of your scab to help with the urge to itch it. This also helps to keep the area of the head moisturised and will facilitate your scabs falling off easily.

  5. 5

    Do not use any products that contain alcohol. They will irritate the burn. Comb your hair very gently for the few weeks it will take for the burn to heal.

Tips and warnings

  • See your doctor for severe burns that cover large areas of your scalp.

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