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Your Hair, Your Health, and Your Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Saturday, May 11, 2024


Straightening your hair shouldn’t put your health at risk, but recent research suggests otherwise.

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

Many women opt for hair relaxers to achieve hair in their quest for beauty. However, recent studies have highlighted a concerning link between these hair products and cancer rates among women and adolescents. While the appeal of hair is understandable, it’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with these chemical treatments.

Hair relaxers are solutions designed to change the texture of kinky hair, making it more manageable and straighter. These products typically contain chemicals like sodium ammonium thioglycolate or guanidine hydroxide that work by breaking down the protein bonds in the hair strands.

Although Brazilian blowout products are frequently advertised as formaldehyde-free, testing on a few discovered that the methylene glycol released comparatively high levels of formaldehyde.

The Connection to Cancer and Other Illnesses

Several research studies have raised alarms about the cancer-causing effects of the chemicals in hair relaxers and possibly lupus. For instance, a study revealed that women who used hair dyes or chemical relaxers had a chance of developing breast cancer compared to those who didn’t use products. Another study showed a correlation between using hair relaxers and an increased risk of uterine cancers in black women. which is a type of noncancerous tumor.

A groundbreaking study found that using chemical hair straighteners slightly reduced the likelihood of getting pregnant. Additionally, Black and Hispanic people were more likely than people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds to use these products more frequently, earlier in life, and for longer periods of time because of social pressure to adhere to Eurocentric beauty standards.

The risks to health from using hair relaxers go beyond breast cancer, covering a range of cancers that need careful consideration. Although research in this area is ongoing, various studies have pointed out a link between the use of hair relaxers and different types of cancer in women.

Regarding Breast Cancer

Out of all malignancies studied concerning the use of hair relaxers, breast cancer has received attention. The chemicals found in these products like sodium hydroxide and ammonium thioglycolate are believed to cause the problem. Potentially support the growth of breast cancer cells. Moreover, the absorption of these chemicals through the scalp and skin during application raises concerns about their effects on breast tissue.

Uterine Cancer

Scientific literature has also focused on the connection between hair relaxers and uterine cancer, leiomyomata, or fibroids. Uterine leiomyomata are cancerous growths that develop in the muscle tissue of the uterus and can lead to symptoms like pelvic pain and abnormal uterine bleeding. Studies indicate that chemical-induced hormonal changes from using hair relaxers might contribute to the formation and spread of fibroids. While fibroids themselves are usually harmless, their presence could heighten the risk of certain types of cancer over time.


A form of cancer that starts in the ovaries, ovarian cancer, has been associated with the use of hair relaxers. While the exact reasons for this connection are not fully understood, some experts suggest that the hormonal changes caused by these chemicals could contribute to cancer development. Moreover, the absorption of substances through the scalp and skin might lead to the accumulation of cancer-causing agents in tissues, raising the risk of cancer.

Other Types of Cancer

Apart from breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers linked to hair relaxer usage, there is also an association with other types of cancer. Studies have hinted at a relationship between chemical relaxers and skin cancer, such as melanoma, because of exposure to carcinogens during application to the scalp and skin. The inhaling fumes emitted during the relaxing process could pose risks to the health of beauticians. Potentially increase vulnerability to lung cancer in the long run.

These discoveries indicate that the substances found in hair straighteners might possess cancer-causing characteristics that could potentially contribute to the onset of cancer in women.

Legal Disputes and Court Cases

Recently, there has been a surge in actions taken against hair straightener producers, with allegations suggesting that their products have been linked to cancer and other severe health issues. One lawsuit involved women who asserted that their prolonged use of hair relaxers heightened their chances of developing breast cancer. The plaintiffs contended that the manufacturers were aware of or should have been aware of the hazards associated with their products.

Some lawsuits have been filed against companies for not warning consumers about their products. While some cases may have been settled, others are still going through the process, showing the legal issues in regulating cosmetic products. Since beauty products such as hair straighteners are not FDA regulated, the field may contain many products that need further testing.

Awareness Importance

The industry's lack of regulations makes it hard for consumers to choose products wisely. Unlike pharmaceuticals, which undergo testing before being sold, cosmetics face no such oversight by regulatory bodies. This means manufacturers don’t have to prove the safety or effectiveness of their products before putting them on the market.

Although hair relaxers can provide beauty benefits, we shouldn’t overlook the risks they carry. The connection between hair relaxers and cancer in women is a concern that requires research and attention. In the meantime, consumers should be careful about what they use and explore ways to achieve their desired hairstyle. By advocating for regulations and spreading awareness about the dangers of hair relaxers, we can strive for a healthier future for everyone.

The link between hair straightening treatments and different forms of cancer shows how complex the health risks tied to these products can be. Although we still need information to understand why these connections exist, the evidence we have emphasizes the need to be careful and educate consumers. By pushing for safety rules, conducting research, and looking into different ways to care for our hair, we can reduce the risks associated with chemical relaxers and move towards making healthier choices for everyone.

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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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