Blog Post

The Link Between Salons and Breast Cancer


Visiting the salon to refresh your look with a new style or color can be enticing, but if salon services are part of your usual routine, you should know about the new research that links some of these practices to an increased risk of breast cancer.

In this blog post, I’ll let you in on what the research says and give you tips for how you can look incredible while protecting your health.

According to researchers at Rutgers University, if you regularly dye, relax, or straighten your hair, you may be putting yourself at higher risk for breast cancer. In a study of over 4,200 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer, researchers found an increased risk of the disease, especially among women who used darker colors of hair dye. Among African-American women, those who used dark brown or black hair dye had a 51% increased risk of getting breast cancer and a 72% increase in estrogen-positive cancer. Caucasian women who used chemical relaxers or straighteners had a 74% increased risk of breast cancer.

What’s responsible for the risk? Some of the ingredients in these products, including aromatic amines, 4-aminobiphenyl (ABP), and lye, are known carcinogens, or chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer. And in addition to breast cancer, darker shades of hair dye have also been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, and multiple myeloma.

Because the FDA regulates these ingredients minimally at best, you need to be proactive to reduce your risk, and luckily there are many things you can do. The best way to do this is to stop dyeing and relaxing your hair with these products, or if you still want to do this, use dyes and straightening products sparingly or with less frequency. In addition, you should especially avoid products that contain ammonia, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulphate, coal tar, parabens, and the ingredients listed above.

You can also be on the lookout for organic hair treatments. One good brand is Mountain Light Henna, which can be used by men and women, and is completely nontoxic. It is available online.

Remember that learning to make healthier beauty choices is an essential part of having a healthier life!

If you have any further questions or concerns, or would like to come in for an assessment, call The Khader Center at (914) 752-2815.

Be healthy!

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