Livingstone Ochieng

BeautyRadical Self CareSex & Gender

new research links chemical relaxers to breast cancer

December 9, 2019
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Black folks, if you’ve ever felt the burn of the creamy crack across your scalp, it will come as no surprise to you that new research indicates a toxic link between hair processing and breast cancer. According to the researchers at the National Institute of Health, women who use permanent hair dye are 9% more likely to develop breast cancer when compared to women who don’t. And the risk is significantly higher among Black women. Despite being less likely to use permanent hair dye, Black women are substantially more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer after using it.

When it comes to using chemical hair straighteners the research found an 18 percent higher breast cancer risk among Black and white women, although Black women are far more likely to use such products.

It’s important to note that the National Institute of Health’s research analyzes the association and not causation. The women who participated in this study were already at a higher relative risk for breast cancer based on their family history. It is unclear whether or not the chemical processes themselves cause cancer or whether hair processing overlaps with other lifestyle factors like obesity, lack of exercise, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, etc.