Beauty Products and Cancer: Know the Facts

PR Newswire

BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Have you dyed or relaxed your hair? Do you put on lipstick before you head out to work? Do you paint your nails? Many African American women have a beauty routine or beauty products that they regularly use. Have you ever worried that yours might increase your risk for cancer? Before you panic and cancel your appointment at the salon, read on—it’s time to break down some beauty-related cancer fact and fiction.


Hair Dye: It is estimated that more than one-third of women over age 18 and about 10 percent of men over age 40 use some type of hair dye.  Hair dyes are full of chemicals—5,000, to be precise—and that hasn’t escaped the notice of cancer researchers. Decades ago, researchers began studying chemicals used in hair dye. They found that early dye formulations contained chemicals that could cause cancer in animals. Not surprisingly, manufacturers changed the formulas and eliminated some of these chemicals in the United States around 1980. Because so many people use hair dyes, researchers continue to monitor whether chemicals in hair coloring products can increase risk for cancer in humans.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the evidence for increased risks for cancer from modern hair dyes use is limited and inconsistent. Some studies have indicated that people who used hair dyes had an increased risk for bladder and breast cancer, as well as cancers of the blood and bone marrow (such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia), while other studies have not. Based on its review of the evidence, the Working Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that personal use of hair dyes is “not classifiable” as cancer-causing to humans. So it is still unclear if personal use of hair dyes can increase your risk for cancer. If you would like to learn more about hair dye and health risks, the Outreach and Information Center of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has information about hair dyes and how they are regulated. Visit (search term: hair dye).

Read More: Beauty Products and Cancer: Know the Facts

Related: Cancer – Personal Prevention Plan

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