I never put chemicals on my hair until 8th grade when I got a perm. This was a terrible idea because 1. my hair looked awful and 2. the amount of chemicals from that one treatment aren’t healthy. A few years later, I started to get my hair highlighted. Knowing this wasn’t good for my hair, I still continued to renew my highlights every few months because I like the way they look. I still do. I never thought about the effects hair dye can have on my scalp or even my brain, which leads me to the question – can hair dye cause cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, hair dye can seep through the skin or be inhaled during the process, getting into the body. Hair dressers and people that constantly are around the product are more prone to chemicals entering the body.
Does hair dye cause cancer?
Some studies show possible connections between cancer and hair dye while others do not. The studies that have seen a correlation between hair dye and cancer have been blood and bladder cancer. Scientists usually look at studies done in the lab and among humans so they can get more accurate results.
One study that was conducted involved substances being exposed to animals and seeing if tumors were formed. Another study looked at people with and without cancer, and who dyed their hair and who did not. It is difficult to form a conclusion from both of these studies, since animals and humans differ, and the idea that there could be other factors instead of just cancer patients that dye their hair.
According to the above article by the American Cancer Society, people that are exposed to hair dye constantly are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. Blood cancer such as non-hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia were linked to the usage of hair dye, but the risk is small. Constant exposure to hair dye can be linked to bladder cancer – mostly in hair dressers. People that get their hair dyed are not as likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer. Breast cancer has not been linked to the usage or exposure to hair dye.
Should I Use Hair Dye?
Hair dye is regulated by the FDA, but they do not look at every ingredient in the substance before it goes on the market. The FDA has the power to take action if the product is detrimental to someones health or isn’t labeled correctly. However, the FDA does not the ability to force a recall on a product – they can only request one.
Not enough studies have been conducted to confirm if hair dye causes cancer, but there is always a risk. The American Cancer Society suggests to take precautions while using hair dye such as wearing gloves, not mixing products, and never dying eyebrows or eyelashes – you could go blind.