A new study by researchers in the USA states that women who use chemical hair straightening products are at higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
The researchers used data from more than 33,000 women taking part in the Study, a large, ongoing study looking for risk factors for breast cancer and other health conditions.
After an average of nearly 11 years of follow-up, women who had reported using hair straightening products were almost twice as likely to have developed uterine cancer than those who did not, after adjusting for other factors that might affect risk. Women who had reported frequent use of straighteners (more than 4 times in the previous year) were about 2½ times more likely to develop uterine cancer.
The research did not find links between uterine cancer and the use of other hair products, including hair dyes, highlights, and perms.
Uterine cancer is cancer that starts in the uterus. Most uterine cancers occur in people who have gone through or are going through menopause.
Approximately 60 percent of the participants who reported using the products in the previous year were said to be self-identified Black women.
The research added that the adverse health effects of hair straightening products may be greater for Black women due to higher prevalence of use.
Alexandra White, lead author of the study, said the researchers estimated that 1.64 percent of women who never used hair straighteners would go on to develop uterine cancer by the age of 70.
“But for frequent users, that risk goes up to 4.05%. This doubling rate is concerning. However, it is important to put this information into context – uterine cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer,” she said.
The researchers said they did not collect information on brands or ingredients in the hair products the women used.