Can Dying and Straightening Your Hair Give You Cancer?


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This image shows a girl dying her hair. She is depositing a lighter color pigment into her hair.

Natalie Moumdjian, Staff Writer

Recently, a new study by the National Institutes of Health has been constructed. Some scientists believe that women who use permanent hair dye and straighten their hair constantly could possibly have a greater risk of getting breast cancer. 

This study shows that there is a 45% greater chance for black women to get breast cancer after using permanent hair dye for about five to eight weeks, while for white women it was a 7% greater chance. Scientists developed a theory that the different types of hair dyes for black women and white women were made for different hair thickness. Meaning thicker hair absorbs more chemicals.

An eighth-grade McAuliffe student named Marin Solow expressed, “I was bored with it (her hair) and I wanted to change. I’m pretty sure that the hair dye is better for your hair than bleaching it, but I think that it also breaks it down and you shouldn’t dye it that much, even though I do sometimes.”

Different chemicals are present in permanent hair dyes such as ammonia, ethanolamine, resorcinol, parabens, hydrogen peroxide, and a few more. These chemicals really damage your hair. Some effects of hair dye include hardening and thinning your hair along with irritating your skin, eyes and respiratory system. In order for the color to deposit into your hair, the ammonia breaks down your hair strands for the color to enter, thinning your hair.

Women who constantly straighten their hair were about 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. There are different ways to straighten hair. One can chemically straighten it, so that it stays straight temporarily, or normally straighten it with a flat iron. Numerous women straighten their hair everyday, but may not know the harm caused by it. Amayah Granadosin, an eighth-grade McAuliffe student, states, “Straightening your hair when it’s wet can damage it. It can also damage it even when your hair is dry by causing breaks in your hair. I straighten and use heat on my hair a lot.”

In conclusion, next time you want to dye, straighten, or bleach your hair, know what chemicals can cause damage and how this may affect you.