Ladies, it might be time to start letting your hair grow in.
According to a new study by London surgeon Kefah Mokbel, women who frequently dye their hair increase their risk of developing breast cancer by about 14 per cent, reports The Independent.
In fact, Mokbel says that women should dye their hair no more than two to five times a year, which could be an issue for women who prefer to cover up greys, or those who are used to dyeing their hair regularly, which can be as much as every three weeks.
And that's not the only change Mokbel suggests we make. According to him, we should be using more natural products on our hair including henna, beetroot or rose hip.
"What I find concerning is the fact that the industry recommends women should dye their hair every four to six weeks," Mokbel said.
"Although further work is required to confirm our results, our findings suggest that exposure to hair dyes may contribute to breast cancer risk."
We should be using more natural products on our hair including henna, beetroot or rose hip.
Mokbel also added that the link between frequent hair dye use and breast cancer is just a correlation. "The positive association between the use of hair dyes and breast cancer risk does not represent evidence of a cause-effect relationship," he wrote on Facebook.
He also took to Twitter to further explain his findings, noting that women over 40 should undergo regular breast cancer screenings and that hair dyes that contain natural ingredients are safe.
This research confirms a previous 2017 study published in the journal Carcinogenesis, which found a link between hair dye and relaxers and breast cancer.
According to researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey, carcinogens in the hair products may be contributing to the increased risk.
"We found that use of dark shade hair dyes was associated with a 51 per cent increase overall risk in developing breast cancer among African American women, and a 72 per cent increased risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer among African Americans," researchers told the Women's Circle Health Study. "We also found that use of chemical relaxers or straighteners was associated with a 74 per cent increased risk among Caucasians, with some differences in breast cancer risk observed by estrogen receptor status."
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Another study published earlier this year also found that hair dyes increased the risk of breast cancer, noting that researchers observed a 23 per cent increase in the risk among women who dyed their hair.
However, according to the National Cancer Institute, while some studies have shown a link between hair dye usage and increased risk of some cancers, other studies have not shown these links.
"Studies of breast and bladder cancer have also produced conflicting results," they note. "Relatively few studies have been published about the association of hair dye use with the risk of other cancers. Based on its review of the evidence, the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) Working Group concluded that personal use of hair dyes is 'not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.'"
While some studies have shown a link between hair dye usage and increased risk of some cancers, other studies have not shown these links.
Because there's still no strong link found between personal hair dye use and increased cancer risk, the American Cancer Society notes that more studies need to be conducted and that there is no specific medical advice for people who dye their hair other than to stick to a healthy diet, be physically active, quit smoking, and get routine exams.
They also note that some people might want to avoid hair dye if they cause allergic reactions and that some doctors recommend women avoid getting their hair dyed when they're pregnant.
If you are concerned about the safety of hair dye, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends reading the package instructions carefully, testing for allergic reactions before you use it on your hair, wearing gloves when using the product, not leaving the dye on your head longer than the recommended time, and rinsing your hair thoroughly with water after you're done.
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