Last Updated on 16th November 2022

One of the worst things that can happen to a woman is to lose her hair. But women are not the only ones who love their hair. The number of men taking care of their hair is increasing daily. 

Different people love different hairstyles. Some love it bushy like an afro, some love locking it, while others love it straight. 

But there is some bad news for the latter group; some chemicals used to make hair straighteners have been shown to increase the chances of uterine cancers in women.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Report

On October 17, 2022, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) published a report by the Sister Study, which included data collected from over 33,000 women tracked in the study for 11 years. 

The initial goal was to look into the link between chemicals used in hair products and breast cancer, among other health conditions. In the course of their study, the researchers discovered a link between uterine cancer and hair straighteners by accident. During the 11 years of tracking the women, 378 were diagnosed with uterine cancer.

The results also showed that individuals that used straighteners over four times per year were two times more at risk of developing uterine cancer than those who did not use the products.

Black Women Are More at Risk

According to the report, 60% of the women that reported using hair straightening chemicals identified as black. This is because the majority of women who use chemical straighteners and have done since a young age are black. This is due to a variety of reasons, for some, it’s simply a matter of personal preference while for others there’s a pressure to conform to societal norms or expectations. And as afro-textured hair is extremely curly and has a lot of shrinkage it doesn’t stay straight for very long without the use of a chemical straightener.

Given these findings, it is important for black women to be aware of the risks associated with hair straightening products.

Chemicals Responsible For Causing Cancers

The study did not point out specific brands as the culprits. But it pointed out particular chemicals that are a risk factor and which may be present in most of the hair straightener chemicals in the market. 

These chemicals include:

  • Parabens 
  • Formaldehyde
  • Bisphenol A
  • Metals

The reports did not highlight a uterine cancer link with chemicals used to make other hair products such as perms, bleach, and hair dye. 

While the study showed a possible link between the use of hair straightening products with uterine cancer, it did not conclude that the use of these products causes cancer. Instead, the authors noted that the chance of getting uterine cancer increases significantly after using the products.

Other Products Present Significant Risks

This is not the first time hair products have been seen to increase the chances of cancer. These findings are consistent with earlier findings that showed a correlation between hair straighteners and hair dyes with breast cancer. According to this research, black women were less likely to use permanent hair dye, but after using it, they were more likely to have breast cancer.

Again, while these studies show a big correlation between the use of hair products and cancer, researchers are yet to point out exactly who among the chemicals used in making these products is the culprit.

Lowering Your Risk

If you have been using hair straighteners for an extensive time, there is nothing you can do to roll that back, but it would help if you go for cancer screening regularly to ensure that you catch the symptoms before it causes much damage in the event you get it. 

Also, you may want to look for alternative ways of straightening your hair and be cautious about the products you use. You may also consider exercise, as keeping fit has been seen to lower the chances of getting cancer.

If you believe that your use of a specific hair product is the cause of your cancer, you may consider talking to a personal injury lawyer for help recovering damages.

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