WASHINGTON (WTEN) – Researchers with the National Institutes of Health found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not use these products.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, women who regularly used permanent hair dye in the year prior to enrolling in the study were nine percent more likely than who women who didn’t use hair dye to develop breast cancer.
Researchers say among African American women, using permanent hair dye every five to eight weeks or more was associated with a 60 percent increase of breast cancer compared to an eight percent risk for white women.
The study found little or no increase in breast cancer risk for semi-permanent or temporary hair dye use.
The use of chemical straighteners was also linked to a higher risk of breast cancer among regular users.
According to the study, women who used chemical straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were about 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer.
“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.”
Researcher say it’s too early to make a firm recommendation on whether women should stop dying or straightening their hair, but it could be a way to lessen the risk of breast cancer.