Hair dye and Breast Cancer: The Late Connection Found by Scientist

As you may know, hair dye products and straighteners are known by possessing in its ingredients hundreds of chemicals historically link with the development of many forms of cancer, but with this late study result, the researchers suggest that the regular use of these products can significantly increase the risk of suffering from breast cancer, especially among black women.

Hair dyes and straighteners are a regular routine for most women around the globe. Just in the USA, studies estimate that, at least, 33% of women older than 18 years old include these products in their monthly beauty routine.

Alongside, the use of hair dyes with some straightener product is also often, especially among women of color, to soften their natural hair. At least 75% of black women interview admitted the use of these products in their daily lives as part of their cosmetic routine.

The sister's study and what the results said about breast cancer

Several studies have been done over the years to determine which factors can increase or decrease the risk of suffering some cancer in the future.

As many times before, this study centered on the effect that may have on the chemistry of hair dye and straightener products on women over the years. It is also widely known that hair dyes have, at least, 5000+ chemicals that can cause the block or mimic of several important hormones such as estrogen, also affecting the way the body absorbs them and interfering, ultimately, the body's natural balance.

In this way, the study focuses on the possible relationship that the use of these products may have in the increase of the risk from suffering breast cancer among women over time. The study, recently published by the International Journal of Cancer and recalled in this article, gives a light about the probabilities of increasing risk percentages among women that frequently use hair dye or straightener products in a certain length of time.

The Sister Study, as is name this research, have more than 50 thousand women registered from the USA and Puerto Rico Area whom joined the investigation between 2003 and 2009 to make a follow up in healthy women that have never been diagnosed from breast cancer but have at least one sister or direct relative suffering the condition to determine which factors can contribute to the arrival of the disease.

In this study, the women needed to complete a yearly survey to determine the overall environmental, health, and lifestyle conditions they were having right before and in the middle of the ongoing study, updating the data every 2 or 3 years.

In this last case, researchers decided to send a questionnaire asking them about the frequency of the use of the hair dye or straightener products in their daily lives and what type of hair dye did they use if it was a dark or light color or both.

After an eight-year follow-up, the results were the following:

  • At least, researchers discover an increase to up to 9% of the probabilities among women to suffer from some breast cancer condition if they used hair dye or straightener products regularly
  • Black women have a higher percentage of suffering from breast cancer: at least 60% increases the risk if hair products used between 5 to 8 weeks within 12 months.
  • On the other hand, just about 8% of white women develop the same risk in the use of hair products between 5 to 8 weeks within 12 months
  • Hair straighteners can cause an increase to up to 30% among white or black women to the risk of suffering from breast cancer over the years.
  • Even though the percentages for hair straighteners were equal, a higher group of African American women showed some type of consequence since this ethnic group is more likely to use this type of product over white women.

Women ask: Should I be worried about this?

As Alexandra White said as a co-author, even though doctors and researchers have been studied the link between hair dye, straightener, and breast cancer among time, the overall results have been very inconclusive; demonstrating that it needs to be replicated in other studies because these conclusions doesn't show a cause and effect relationship but more of some kind of association between these products, their use and the arrival of breast cancer.

Dale Sandler, another co-author from this investigation, let cleared the path for more in-depth research into these products alone: we are regularly exposed to many things that can potentially contribute with the appearance of breast cancer or any type of disease because our body cells respond to the conditions of food, household, personal care and lifestyle products used repeatedly over time which makes essential to keep going further using the results to begin another set of test among women.

On the other hand, Dr. Gradishar an oncologist breast cancer professor told to Healthline in this article that, in despite the large amount of people used to gather the information for the test, many important aspect were left out: one of them for example, is that the survey requires these women to recall past events which may cause from them to forget or omit important information that could affect the final results, another aspect is that the people tested didn't have any kind of genetic studies to discard if they individually had a higher risk to suffer from breast cancer.

Dr. Bernik, chief of Breast Service at Mount Sinai agrees with these statements and also says that he doesn’t believe hair products were the direct cause of suffering from breast cancer: the women from the study already have a sister with breast cancer, which means they were at the group of higher risk from the start.

Besides, according to many other studies made, Black women already have a higher risk of developing breast cancer in the form of triple-negative, says Dr. Bernik, which data is known for a long time.

Being cautious is the key

In the United States, the percentage of developing breast cancer is 13%. A lot less than developing skin cancer, this helps to put things in perspective for everyone.

 Experts recommend if not stopping the use of hair products, to reduce the frequency or opted for a healthier choice as hormone-free, fragrance-free, less harsh, organic dye as well as using gloves for the application of the content.

In order to prevent breast cancer, a balanced diet and a regular exercise routine will make a greater difference as well as making regular mammograms: perhaps hair dye products and straighteners can contribute to breast cancer, but, like many other products, they don't act in isolation which makes it important to take this results in count but not to alarm about it.



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