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Hair Dye and Breast Cancer Risk

by Marianne Navada
Colorful hair dye

Women using permanent hair dyes every five to eight weeks or more was associated with breast cancer risk:

  • 60% increased risk for African American women.
  • 8% increased risk for White women

Researchers also found a correlation between the use of 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.

National Institute of Health

When asked if women should stop coloring or straightening their hair, here is what co-author of the study had to say:

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.

Dale Sandler, Ph.D. | Co-Author

About the Study

Study was published in the International Journal of Cancer by researchers from the National Institute of Health | “Hair dye and chemical straightener use and breast cancer risk in a large U.S. population of black and white women”.

Data: 46,709 women

Findings are specific to permanent hair dye and chemical straightener. Study found little to no increase in breast cancer risk for semi-permanent and temporary hair dyes.

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