"Is there anyway to prevent burning when I relax my hair? I switched to a lye relaxer (ORS) and it burned the heck out my scalp the last two times I used it. I based my entire scalp both times.
First I used regular, then I used extra strength lye relaxer. I assumed that extra strength would help it process faster therefore I would experience less irritation, but it burned twice as much.
I love the results better than no lye (I don't that gritty mineral build up feeling), so I don't want to go back, but the pain is really bad."
I'm sorry to hear that the relaxer burned you badly. The reason why you burned could be due to several factors:
1. You washed too close to your relaxer day - It's important to wash 4-5 days prior to a relaxer retouch. Washing too close to your relaxer date can cause burning and irritation during the relaxer.
2. You itched/scratched your scalp - Keep your fingers AWAY from your scalp. Scratching your scalp can lift skin cells off of your scalp leaving it exposed to the relaxer, therefore, causing a burning sensation.. It will seep into the cracked skin and burn you.
3. Lack of Detangling - Pulling through the hair while you are relaxing can cause irritation because the hair is being tugged from the scalp leaving your scalp more sensitive and prone to burns.
4. The oil you used was not thick enough for your sensitive scalp - Use a thicker oil like Hollywood Beauty Castor Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Avocado Oil etc. to base with. These oils will provide a light coating over the scalp to prevent burns and irritation yet still allowing the relaxer to penetrate and straighten the hair to your liking.
5. You used the teeth of the comb to smooth the new growth - Make sure you are using the BACK of a comb or your hands so that you are not disturbing the scalp. Using the teeth section of a comb to smooth may scratch the scalp allowing the relaxer to get in contact with fresh skin which then causes burning!
6. You did not pay attention to the time limit - Be on point with how long you leave the relaxer on to process for. Follow the directions on the relaxer jar.
7. You worked out or did some physical activity before your relaxer - Do not exercise for 2 days before you get a relaxer. The sweat in your scalp opens up your pores making it very susceptible to burning.
I highly recommend (for sensitive people like yourself) that you base your scalp the night before and the day of your relaxer, in sections. This will ensure that you do not get burned since you are highly protected. Don't forget to base the entire perimeter of your hairline, ears, behind your ears, nape etc.
Please keep in mind that the problem could also be because of your high sensitivity and this particular relaxer may not be the right "fit" for you. Using a relaxer specifically for sensitive scalp may be the best route to go i.e. Affirm FiberGuard Sensitive Scalp Creme Relaxer, Vitale Mo Body Sensitive Scalp Relaxer, Mizani sensitive scalp etc.
Overall, when getting a re-touch, just leave your hair alone! Do not touch the scalp, itch or scratch. Low manipulation is key.
Hope that helps,