“Creamy crack” may not be such a bad name for the product that Black women have been using consistently for decades. Researchers at Boston University published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that prolonged and regular use of hair relaxers are linked to uterine leiomyoma (benign tumors). From 1997 to 2009, a team of five researchers gathered information from 23,000 premenopausal women who both used and did not use the beauty salon staple. Although risk was unrelated to age at first application or the type of relaxer formulation (lye, no lye, etc.), they did find a two to three-times higher rate of fibroids among Black women who were using it. The cause: chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxers.

A separate study published last summer by the Annals of Epidemiology linked the beauty product to early puberty. After studying 300 New York City girls between 8 and 19 years old, they concluded that African-Americans have earlier menstruations than other races. These same Black girls were also more likely to use relaxers and other chemical hair products. While the results are startling, it’s important to note that nothing is definite as the hair care industry is not regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.

Does this info convince you to go natural? Or, is this something Black women should be privy to, but not worry about until solid evidence is given? And wait… how does this affect men who like their hair silky smooth?