Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
Hair Dyes and Cancer
Peer Review Status: Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Information Service
Whether or not hair dye increases cancer risk is a question that has been bounced around for several decades. It remains a question because some of the ingredients found in hair dye cause mutations in laboratory mice.
In the 1970s, several studies suggested that hairdressers were more prone to cancers of the blood and lymph systems. In the '90 s there was one study that found an increased risk of leukemia when hair dye was used for more than 15 years. Another study found that women who dyed their hair one to four times a year had a greater risk to develop ovarian cancer.
In 1994, a study conducted by the American Cancer Society and the Food and Drug Administration found that using hair dye did not increase the likelihood of dying from cancer. The exception was women who used black hair dye for more than 20 years. The Nurses Health Study in 1994, failed to find any connection between hair dye use and cancers of the blood and lymph system.
In February 2001 this topic arose again. Researchers at the University of Southern California reported that people who used permanent hair dye once a month for ten years or more were five times more likely to develop bladder cancer.
None of these studies contained specifics like type of hair dye or their ingredients.
Looking at these studies together, the evidence is not sufficient for researchers to say unequivocally that there is a link between using hair dye and cancer. If there is a link, it is with the use of permanent dark hair dye over a long period of time.
If you want to play it safe and continue to color your hair, practice these precautions:
Last modification date:
Mon Aug 7 13:09:58 2006