Hair Dye

People turn to hair dye to hide unwanted gray hair or to fashionably change their appearance. You might not even think twice about applying the potent chemicals to your hair. After all, everyone does it, right? However, hair dye has been linked to cancer.

In a recent groundbreaking study, it was found that hair dye might increase the chances of developing cancer. African American women who used permanent hair dye for five to eight weeks appeared to experience a 60 percent increase in breast cancer, and white women had an 8 percent increase.

6. Do Chemicals Increase the Risk of Cancer?

Harsh Chemicals

Most hair dye enthusiasts automatically think that the chemicals are to blame for the increase in the cancer rates, but this is not necessarily true. In fact, it might be a combination of factors that makes women more susceptible to breast cancer after they dye their hair.

Genetics and other lifestyle choices all combine with the use of hair dyes and straighteners to increase the chance of developing cancer.

5. Research and Hair Dye

Laboratory Tests

According to an article in the International Journal of Cancer, in December 2019, researchers found that women who regularly dyed their hair saw a 9 percent increase in breast cancer development than women who did not use such hair products.

The groundbreaking study looked at 46,709 women between the ages of 35 to 74. Each one of the participants had a sibling who had had breast cancer. Referred to as the Sister Study, the goal of the researchers was to look at environmental factors and genes to discover the possible link to breast cancer.

During the study, they looked at the hair products that the participants used over 12 months. They found the following:

  • Breast cancer increased by 45 percent in African American women who used permanent hair dye and 7 percent in white women.
  • The frequency of hair dye use (every five to six weeks) appeared to increase the potential risk for breast cancer.
  • Hair straighteners used every five to eight weeks increased the likelihood of developing breast cancer by 30 percent.
  • Application of semi-permanent dyes and straighteners by a non-professional showed no increase in cancer risk.


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