Are Hair Dye and Breast Cancer Related?

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Studies show that almost 80% of women ages 18 to 25 and 40% of men ages 22-40 in the US have been using hair dye to colour their hair. Following this research, rumours have been circulating in countries like the US that hair dye can cause breast cancer.

Hair Dye

There are two types of hair dye: permanent and semi-permanent. Permanent hair dye entails the mixing of two components. One of which is a hydrogen peroxide solution, and the other is an ammonia solution of dye intermediates and pre-formed dyes, also known as couplers. Both chemicals react to each other to form pigment molecules. The darker the colour of the hair dye the higher the concentration of intermediates needed. While temporary or semi-permanent dye contains minimal chemicals and are non-oxidative, they include coloured compounds that directly stain the hair.

2Think twice about your next salon visit…

Over the years of studies, there have been many claims to oppose the correlation between hair dye and breast cancer, but suggest links instead to other types of cancer such as bladder cancer, leukemia, and others. There are approximately 5000 chemicals in a single hair dye which contain carcinogens that can cause cancer in animals. Because of this, researchers tried to test if the use of hair dye increases the risk of breast cancer or other types of cancer. Ultimately, the study concluded that the chance of getting cancer in a person who uses hair dye is the same compared to a non-user.