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Breast cancer linked to permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners

December 18, 2019

Does permanent hair dye cause breast cancer? Check out the new study about hair dye and chemical straightener use and breast cancer risk in a large US population.

Chemical hair products might cause breast cancer
Chemical hair products might cause breast cancer/ Ph: Pexels@Chloe Kala

According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, permanent hair dye and straighteners may increase breast cancer risk. In particular, women who use these products have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t.

Permanent hair dye and breast cancer link


The study also shows that the more frequent use of these chemical hair products, the higher risk of breast cancer women have. This study uses data from 46,709 women in the Sister Study, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). According to the statistics, the chance of developing breast cancer in women who regularly used permanent hair dye in the year before this study is 9% more than women who didn’t. Also, white women who use permanent dyes every five to eight weeks or more had an 8% increased risk while African American women had a 60% increased risk of breast cancer. For those who use semi-permanent or temporary hair dye, the link between hair dye and chemical straightener use and breast cancer risk are low or none.

Do hair straighteners cause cancer?

There has been a few studies about the link between hair dye and cancer, and the results have been inconsistent. But there is a higher chance that hair dyes and straighteners cause cancer, and the effect is stronger in African American women. Also, women who used hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were about 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. And although African American women use straightener more, the link between straightener use and breast cancer was similar in African American and white women. However, these results need to be replicated in other studies. Therefore, it is too early to make a firm recommendation that women should stop dyeing or straightening their hair. However, avoiding these chemicals might be the right thing to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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