by Adeline Dorcas on  December 4, 2019 at 11:00 AM Health Watch
  • Permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners are more likely to increase breast cancer risk
  • Women who used permanent hair dyes and hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were about 60% and 30% more likely to develop breast cancer respectively
  • Hence, avoiding these chemical-based hair dyes and straighteners can significantly reduce breast cancer risk

Permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners may increase the risk of developing breast cancer, suggests a new study. The findings of the study are published in the International Journal of Cancer.

Is Hair Coloring and Hair Straightening Safe?
No, using chemical-based hair dyes and hair straighteners are not safe for your hair. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don't use these products. The study suggests that breast cancer risk increased with more frequent use of these chemical hair products.
Permanent Hair Dye, Chemical Hair Straighteners May Up Breast Cancer Risk

Details of the Study

Using data from 46,709 women in the Sister Study, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH, found that women who regularly used permanent hair dye in the year prior to enrolling in the study were 9% more likely than women who didn't use hair dye to develop breast cancer.

"Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent," said corresponding author Alexandra White, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Environment and Cancer Epidemiology Group.

"In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use, and the effect is stronger in African American women, particularly those who are frequent users."

Findings of the Study

An intriguing finding was the association between the use of chemical hair straighteners and breast cancer. Dr. White and colleagues found that women who used hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were about 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. While the association between straightener use and breast cancer was similar in African American and white women, straightener use was much more common among African American women.

Among African American women, using permanent dyes every five to eight weeks or more was associated with a 60% increased risk of breast cancer as compared with an 8% increased risk for white women. The research team found little to no increase in breast cancer risk for semi-permanent or temporary dye use.

Co-author Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch, cautioned that although there is some prior evidence to support the association with chemical straighteners, these results need to be replicated in other studies.

When asked if women should stop dyeing or straightening their hair, Sandler said, "We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman's risk. While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer."

Reference :
  1. Hair dye and chemical straightener use and breast cancer risk in a large US population of black and white women - (

Source: Eurekalert

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