Will Hair Dye Give You Breast Cancer?

Black women are at a highest risk

Woman admiring her hair

Woman admiring her hair

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, say scientists in the International Journal of Cancer.

Using data from 46,709 women in the Sister Study, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) 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. 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 smaller to no increases in breast cancer risk for semi-permanent or temporary dye use.

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“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.”

Read: Onion And Garlic Decrease Breast Cancer Risk By 67%

Another finding was an association between the use of chemical hair straighteners and breast cancer. 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.

Reference i Carolyn E. Eberle, Dale P. Sandler, Kyla W. Taylor, Alexandra J. White. Hair dye and chemical straightener use and breast cancer risk in a large US population of black and white women. International Journal of Cancer, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/ijc.32738
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