Scary New Research Shows Using Dark Hair Dye Or Chemical Straighteners Increases Your Breast Cancer Risk

You may want to rethink that salon visit.

Hair straightening
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The 80s had the mullet, the 90s had ‘the Rachel’ and the early 2000’s had crimped hair. But if we had to pinpoint a hair trend to represent 2017, it’s definitely long, dark, perfectly sleek tresses —à la The Kardashians/Jenners. But if you’re thinking about channeling the look through not-so-natural means, you may want to think again!


Alarming new research shows that women who use dark hair dye or chemical straighteners (think Keratin straightening) have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer. The study published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis looked at more than 4000 women from New York and New Jersey, aged between 22 and 75. 2280 of those women had breast cancer.

The researchers asked the women if they had used dark hair dye at least twice per year, or if they had ever used chemical hair relaxants or straighteners for at least one year. From the data, they found that caucasian women who used chemical straighteners had a 74% increased risk of breast cancer, while black women who used dark hair dye had a 51% increased risk. Meanwhile, white women had both had their hair dark and used chemical relaxants had an even higher breast cancer risk.

The study’s lead author, Adana Llanos, an epidemiologist at the Rutgers School of Public Health, is quick to point that this is not definitive evidence that dark hair dye or chemical hair straighteners cause breast cancer.“Our findings do not suggest that simply using hair dyes, relaxers or both will cause a woman to get breast cancer,” she said. “The reality is that we regularly encounter a variety of harmful exposures, which we have no control over.’’

There’s also no sufficient research to conclude whether light dye or other hair treatments have the same effect. However, it’s an important reminder that we need to be more mindful of the chemicals we’re exposed to on a regular basis and avoid them wherever possible. A great place to start is by clearing out your beauty bag, as traditional makeup products tend to be loaded with toxins and chemicals (which we put on our faces on a daily basis.) Need some inspiration? Check out some of the indie natural beauty brands we’re obsessing over at the moment here.