Last summer, a research study suggested that black women who use dark hair dyes face a higher risk of breast cancer, while chemical relaxers and straighteners boost the odds in white women.
The findings stemmed from a study of more than 4,000 women. Use of dark brown or black hair dyes by black women was tied to a 51 percent greater risk of breast cancer. And whites who used hair relaxers had 74 percent higher odds.
A new study the authors describe a study that may reveal a link between hair dye and breast cancer. Dr. Kefah Mokbel, a London surgeon who has privileges at Princess Grace Hospital, led a study that concludes women who dye their hair may be subjected to an increased breast cancer risk of up to 14 percent. According to Dr. Mokbel, women should not dye their hair more than two to six times every year. This contradicts the advice offered by fashion experts who recommend women dye their hair every four to six weeks.
In another study out of Finland, similar findings were observed. Sanna Heikkinen of the Finnish Cancer Registry commented, “We did observe a statistical association between hair dye use and risk of breast cancer in our study.” Heikkinen agreed with Mokbel that a causal relationship has not yet been concluded. She explained, “It is not possible to confirm a true causal connection. It might be, for example, that women who use hair dyes also use other cosmetics more than women who reported never using hair dyes.”
Hair dyes, whether temporary, semi-permanent or permanent, may contain up to 5,000 different chemicals. Some of these have been found to be carcinogenic in laboratory animals.
While a causal relationship between breast cancer and hair dye has not yet been established, the increased risk factors associated with the product and the occurrence of breast cancer surely warrant further study given the number of women who use hair dye products regularly.