Just how do relaxers on your hair work?
As both someone that is a biochemist and possesses unmanageable wild hair, I do believe this real question is good. First, we will need to discover why hair is curly. There’s two reasons:
A primary reason hair is curly is because of hydrogen bonds relating to the proteins (keratin) that make up hair; these bonds are weak and will be enhanced by water. That’s why straight hair can curl if it’s wet. The everyday shampoos and conditioners you purchase inside store and employ each morning to straighten your hair (or otherwise “tame your curls”) work since they keep moisture from penetrating the head of hair strands. These items do not do anything chemically for a hair except coat these with a variety of oils that keep the hair from absorbing water. Which is also why nice hair feels especially soft and smooth after using the items. An alternate way to alter hydrogen bonds is by using heat; electric straighteners work for this reason principle. The platters on electric straighteners are flat so that as soon as your hair cools it requires is very important of “flat” since the hydrogen bonds reform. A similar thing occurs with curling irons, consider the heating element is circular, the hair stays curled mainly because it cools. The effects of heat, however, is temporary, as time passes the hydrogen bonds eventually go back to their original form along with the hairs starts back towards the way these were. This rearrangement is really because moisture rising hydrates the proteins. Hydrating the proteins in hair causes your hair to swell and allows the proteins (which choose to exist in water) for being more “at your home,” and your hair will take its original form again. This can be why (for the people folks with locks) humidity gives our hair a life of its own and won’t tune in to us.
The main reason hair is curly is really because the keratin proteins contain proteins called cysteines. These cysteines hyperlink to each other by disulfide bonds (two sulfur atoms linked with one another). The greater disulfide bonds, the curlier your hair. All hair has disulfide bonds however it is is very important on the hair strand itself which determines both what number of along with what way the disulfide bonds are put together. Hair strands which might be round have fewer disulfide bonds and also the bonds are more aligned with each other thus your hair is straight. Hair strands which can be flattened and check more oval like possess a greater quantity of disulfide bonds, that are also connected askew, there fore your hair might be more curly. The shapes of hair strands depend upon anyone, some individuals have round pores that their hair grows, others convey more flattened pores. Round pores make round hairs, flat pores make flattened hairs. Like i said previously the form of those hair strands are dependent upon the person and are also there fore hard to permanently change but we are able to change if hair is curly or straight by changing the disulfide bonds.
Relaxers simply break these disulfide bonds and cap them in order that they cannot chemically reform. Classically, hair relaxers utilize a reducer or a base (the contrary of acid) like lye (sodium hydroxide) to destroy and cap these bonds. An illustration of this this method are visible in the movie “Malcolm X” with Denzel Washington: Denzel nearly burned his hair off looking to straighten it. Unfortunately, sodium hydroxide can burn your skin and damage hair. The gentler and safer commercial relaxers continue to be using the same chemical reactions of breaking disulfide bonds and capping them. E.g., the “Imina P&G No Lye Conditioning Cr�me Relaxer Base-Relaxer Kit” by Procter & Gamble, according to their website, contains 5% calcium hydroxide a medium strength base. When “MPDiol Glycol Alkaline Hair Relaxer” by Lyondell, contains 5% sodium hydroxide, an extremely strong base.
Disulfide bonds will not be affected by water so, once you break the bonds and cap them (regarding relaxers) they do not get back on their original state. Perms which, intentionally curl hair, chemically boost the volume of disulfide bonds by using an oxidizer to uncap the naturally caped sulfides in straight hair. Because the name implies, these perms will stay “forever” curly. So, as you have seen, one chemical (a reducer) could make your hair straight, while another chemical (an oxidizer) could make nice hair curly. Having a mix of these chemicals inside right order lets you be more creative along with your hair. Regardless of what rather hair you have, if you can break disulfide bonds with one chemical, shape flowing hair so reform the disulfide bonds with another chemical you may get any coif you would like. Perms and relaxings both eventually go away completely, not as the bonds reform, but as your original hair simply grows in, replacing your straightened or curled hair in what you possessed originally. These chemicals, however, usually tend to damage your hair, until eventually nice hair sets out to thin and break, also much styling may be harmful to nice hair’s health. Oh, as well as in case you are wondering hair sprays just glues hair together.