A new study out of the University of Rutgers uncovered concerning evidence that two common hair treatments are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. The study surveyed over 4,000 African American and White women on their uses of chemical hair relaxers and straighteners as well as dark hair dye. The study found that African American women who used darker hair dyes were 51 percent more likely to be at risk for breast cancer than African American who did not use these products.
The study also found that white women who use chemical relaxers had a 74 percent increased risk of breast cancer, while white women who used both dark hair dye and did chemical releasers had double the risk of breast cancer compared with those white women who used neither.
So does this mean you should stop coloring or relaxing your hair? Dr. Lily recommends avoiding chemical relaxers and straighteners all together. These products often contain known carcinogenic ingredients and are dangerous if inhaled over time and repeat exposure. With regards to hair dye, avoid products that contain ammonia, formaldehyde, paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and formaldehyde releasers. Certain formaldehyde releasers to look for on labels include quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, and glyoxal.
We can’t avoid everything. However, in our world of chemical overload, avoiding known carcinogens with definitive evidence and links to cancer are advisable.