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Women Who Dye Their Hair Might Be Increasing Their Risk For Breast Cancer

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Women who dye their hair frequently may be raising their chances of developing breast cancer, a new study suggests.

Kefah Mokbel, a breast cancer surgeon at the Princess Grace Hospital in London examined studies that sought to establish if there is a link between hair dyes and breast cancer, The New York Post reports. Mokbel found a 14% increase in the cancer among women who colored their hair.

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.” Women should dye their hair a maximum of five times a year, and opt for hair dyes with natural ingredients, like beetroot, he added.

Hair professionals suggest that women touch up on their hair coloring every four to six weeks, which Mokbel finds disturbing. He tweeted, “Women are advised to reduce exposure to synthetic hair dyes to two to six times per year, and undergo regular breast screening from the age of 40. It would be preferable to choose hair dyes that contain the minimum concentration of aromatic amines such as PPD (less than 2%). Further research is required to clarify the relationship between hair dyes and breast cancer risk in order to better inform women.”

In a separate study, researchers in Finland found similar results: that women who use hair dye are more likely to contract breast cancer. However, it is not clear if the hair dye products directly caused the disease.

“We did observe a statistical association between hair dye and risk of breast cancer. However, it is not possible to confirm a true causal connection,” Sanna Heikkinen of the Finnish Cancer Registry, one of the authors on the study, said. “It might be, for example, that women who use hair dyes also use other cosmetics more than women who reported never using hair dyes.”


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