Straightening or coloring your hair can change your look and boost your confidence in hours. However, both processes require items that contain powerful chemicals, raising the question of whether any health hazards are involved. Can using hair relaxers or dyes, in particular, increase your risk of cancer? For more information about a hair relaxer lawsuit, consult a legal professional today.
What are hair dyes and hair relaxers?
A chemical hair straightener, also known as a hair relaxer, is a chemical product that transforms curly hair into straight hair. A hair relaxer straightens your hair for a few months, keeping it straight after they are wet. The hair relaxer can have various chemical components and come in many different formulations, e.g., liquid keratin or thermal conditioning.
A permanent hair dye removes the hair’s original color before imbuing the strands with new colors. As the name implies, this hair dye permanently alters your hair color. However, your natural color will start to show at your roots after a few weeks. Hair dyes can also contain many chemical components, including bleach and/or peroxide.
What study has shown concerning hair dyes, relaxers, and cancer risk?
There have been many inconsistencies in previous studies on hair dyes and relaxers, as well as their associated risks for cancer. Several studies have examined hair products and cancers over the last five years to determine their association. These studies have focused on breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers, which can grow with estrogen and/or progesterone.
However, none of these studies provided conclusive evidence that hair relaxants or hair dyes cause cancer. However, they did suggest a potential correlation between the high frequency of chemical straightener use and ovarian, breast, and uterine cancer. It may be because of the common chemicals in these products, for example, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, oxidized paraphenylenediamine, and possibly four amino bisphenols, which can lead to cancer.
According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Cancer, women who use chemical hair straighteners over six times a year were 30% more likely to get breast cancer. According to a study published in 2021 in the journal Carcinogenesis and another published in 2022 in the journal JNCI, women who use a chemical hair straightener more than four times a year were three times more likely to get ovarian cancer than women who did not. They were also more likely to get uterine cancer than those who did not.
The same studies found a small association between permanent hair dye and a higher risk of breast cancer, especially in Black women. Hair dye did not appear to be linked to a higher ovarian or uterine cancer risk.