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How Would Permanent Hair Dye & Chemical Straighteners Cause Breast Cancer?


Dec. 05, 2019

Two common beauty products permanent hair dyes and chemical straighteners may be associated with an elevated risk for breast cancer,
according to a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer.
A new study published in the International Journal of Cancer has revealed that hair dyes and chemical straighteners may do far more
damage to our health than our hair. The findings suggest that hair dyes and chemical straighteners may increase Black women’s risk of
developing breast cancer.
The Sister Study, conducted by the National Institute of Health monitored 46,700 breast-cancer-free women between the ages of 35 to 74
whose sisters had been diagnosed with the disease. Participants completed an assessment on their health, demographics, and lifestyle,
which included the use of hair products (in the past 12 months) at enrollment and provided researchers with updates over the course of
eight years.
Of the participants who reported the use of permanent hair dye and chemical straighteners, the research found that they had a greater
chance of being among the 2,800 participants who ended up developing breast cancer. Hair dye use increased Black women’s risk by 45
per cent and chemical straighteners increased risk by 18 per cent. Overall, Black women had the highest risk of developing breast cancer
among the study’s participants.
Noting that the study only tracked a small cohort of women who developed breast cancer and omitted to control for other cancer risks such
as age and health history, more research is needed to link the use of either hair treatment to breast cancer. 
However, the study serves an important reminder to Black beauty consumers: not all beauty products are regulated.
Speaking in an interview with TIME, Alexandra White, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science notes
there’s evidence that shows harmful ingredients in hair dye “The strongest evidence points to aromatic amines, a colourless chemical in
hair dye that has been shown to bind to DNA in breast tissue and potentially lead to DNA damage linked to cancer,” TIME reports. 
And while researchers have linked family history, diet, and ethnicity to increased risk for developing the disease, our hair care products
could also be an associated risk.
How would breast cancer be linked from permanent hair dyes?
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