Menu Close

Hair relaxer usage significantly increases cancer risk

A large study published suggests that frequent use of hair-straightening and hair relaxer products may significantly increase the risk of developing uterine cancer.

“We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straighteners would develop the disease by the age of 70, but that risk rises to 4.05% for frequent users,” study leader Alexandra White of the National Institute of Health said in a statement, according to Times Live.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States, with rates rising, particularly among Black women.

Researchers followed 33,947 racially diverse women between the ages of 35 and 74 for an average of nearly 11 years. During that time, 378 women were diagnosed with the disease.

READ MORE: My kid has head lice. What should I do?

After controlling for other risk factors, women who used straightening products more than four times in the previous year had a more than two-and-a-half times higher risk of developing it.

Less frequent straightener use in the previous year was also associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer, but the difference was not statistically significant, suggesting that it could have been due to chance.

The link between hair straightener and cancer

Earlier research has revealed that hair straighteners contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Previously, the products were linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Usage of hair relaxer and straightener products increases cancer risk
Frequent usage of hair relaxers and straighteners increases the chance of uterine cancer in black women, study finds

“These findings provide the first epidemiologic evidence of a link between the use of straightening products and uterine cancer,” wrote White and colleagues in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. “More research is needed to… identify the specific chemicals that are causing this observed association.”

The study found no difference between races in the link between straightener use and uterine cancer.

However, “because Black women use a hair straightening or relaxer products more frequently and at younger ages than other races and ethnicities, these findings may be even more relevant for them,” NIEHS researcher Che-Jung Chang said in a statement.

Related Posts