A new study conducted by Rutgers School of Public Health found a connection between hair dye and relaxer usage and an increased chance of developing breast cancer. The results show that way these products affect you has a lot to do with your race.
The study found that African-American women who used dark brown or black hair dyes saw a 51 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer. These products also led to a 72 percent increase specifically in estrogen-positive breast cancer—it accounts for 80 percent of all breast cancer incidents—in African American women. White women who used chemical relaxers had a 74 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer.
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Lead author, Adana Llanos, an epidemiologist with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers School of Public Health, warned that these results do not prove these products cause cancer, according to DailyMail.
“Just because we found these associations, doesn’t mean that if you dye your hair dark, or any color, you’re going to get breast cancer,” Llanos said. “But at the same time, the study points to something else we should be mindful of.”
This study asked 4,285 white and African-American women about their use of chemical relaxers and deep-conditioning creams containing cholesterol or placenta. However, researchers did not ask what brands were used, so it is unknown what specific ingredients lead to these results.
“One hypothesis is that the chemical composition of hair products marketed for and used among whites may differ from the products marketed for use by African-Americans,” Llanos said. “More research is needed to determine specifically which compounds and chemicals are dangerous and even which specific consumer products and brands contain those chemicals.”
Researchers considered the family health history, reproductive history, hormone use, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and vitamin use of the subjects to ensure these factors would not skew the results. However, more research is needed before these hair products can definitively be labeled as carcinogens.
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