Hair Straighteners Increase Risk for Uterine Cancer
A recent study released by the National Institutes of Health has shown women who used hair straighteners be at increased risk of uterine cancer. This risk may be more concerning for Black and Hispanic women who are more likely to have used hair straighteners. When hair straighteners have been used frequently, the risk of uterine cancer may be more than twice that of women who have not used the products.
Hair straighteners contain formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals thought to be carcinogenic. Previous studies have linked toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals in hair products to hormone-dependent cancers in females including endometrial cancer, but the NIH study is the first time a link to uterine cancer has been confirmed.
Hair Straightener Products linked to increased risk of uterine cancer may include:
SoftSheen Carson (SSC), L’Oreal
- Precise No Lye Conditioning Relaxer Supreme
- Precise No Lye Original Relaxer
- No Base Relaxer
- Multi Mineral Reduced Ph Creme Relaxer
- Optimum Smooth Multi-Mineral Creme Hair Relaxer
- Multi-Mineral Reduced Ph Crème Relaxer
- Salon Collection Hair Relaxer Super Strength – Optimum Salon Haircare
- Salon Collection Relaxer Regular Strength – Optimum Salon Haircare
SSC Dark and Lovely, L’Oreal
- Moisturizing Relaxer with Shea Butter
- Triple Nourished Silkening Relaxer
- Beautiful Beginnings Kids No-Mistake Nourishing No-Lye Crème Relaxer
- Healthy Gloss Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer
- Sensitive Scalp Rhelaxer
- Butter Blend Sensitive Scalp Rhelaxer
- Conditioning Crème Relaxer
Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil
- No Base Relaxer
- No-Lye Relaxer
- New Growth Relaxer
- Girls Hair Relaxer
- Zone Relaxer
- Professional Crème Relaxer
- Mild Touch Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Anti-breakage No-Lye Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Dream Kids Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Touch Up No-Lye Relaxer
- Herbal Intensive Dual Conditioning Relaxer
- Originals Olive Oil No-Lye Conditioning Relaxer
- Touch-Up Plus Moisturizing No-Lye New Growth Relaxer
Just For Me
- No-Lye Relaxer for girls
- No-Lye Texture Softener
- Super Relaxer
- No-Lye Relaxer
Soft & Beautiful
- Botanicals Regular Texturizer
- No-Lye Regular Texturizer
- No Lye Sensitive Scalp Relaxer
- Classic Formula Relaxer
- Regular Relaxer
- Silkening Shine No-Lye Relaxer
- Smooth & Silken Relaxer
- MegaSilk Shea Butter Relaxer
- Luxury Moisturizing Shea Butter Relaxer
- No-Lye Conditioning Relaxer
Crème of Nature
- Argan Oil Relaxer
- Conditioning No-Lye Hair Relaxer
- No Base Crème Hair Relaxer
Women who have used hair straighteners and developed uterine cancer may be eligible for compensation.
NIH Sister Study Shows Black and Hispanic Women May Be at Higher Risk
The “Sister study”, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was published in the October 2022 Journal of the National Cancer Institute and studied women who were sisters of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It collected data including medical records and lifestyle surveys from over 33,000 women, some of whom were followed for up to 11 years. In the study, 378 women were diagnosed with uterine cancer with frequent use of hair straightening products potentially increasing the risk of uterine cancer by two to three times. The risk was found to be increased slightly, even when only one treatment had been performed in the last 12 months.
Black women already experience greater chance of certain cancers including uterine cancer and endometrial cancer. They may also be at higher risk in particular, for hair straightener-related uterine cancer than other ethnic groups. This appears to be mainly due to the increased or more frequent use of hair straightening treatments in Black and Hispanic women.
Many Black women also began using hair treatments earlier in childhood or teen years and continue to use them regularly throughout adulthood, creating a greater lifetime exposure. The study which confirmed a link between hair straighteners, did not show the same link when other products like hair dyes, lighteners and perms were used.
Uterine cancer or uterine sarcoma is a cancer of the uterus itself. Endometrial cancer is also a type of uterine cancer that forms in the lining or endometrium of the uterus.
Black women are at higher risk for being diagnosed with aggressive uterine cancer and other female cancers in later stages including endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. They are less likely to have early treatment and have a greater chance of death for many female cancers.
Risk factors for uterine cancer also include:
- Family history
- Type 2 diabetes
- Estrogen imbalance
Symptoms of uterine cancer include:
- Post-menopausal uterine bleeding
- Irregular or unusual bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during urination
- Feeling of abdominal swelling or pelvic heaviness
- Unexplained weight loss
Hair Straightener Chemicals May be Toxic
Whether purchased for use at home or applied in a salon, hair straighteners contain formaldehyde which is thought to be carcinogenic. They also contain other chemicals including cyclosiloxanes, parabens, diethanolamine, phthalates and other chemicals, some of which may release formaldehyde over time or may be hormone-disrupters themselves.
In addition to the chemicals already in hair straightener products, the use of heated appliances like dryers and flat irons, along with other hair treatments may cause the release of more of the chemicals which may be absorbed through the scalp and skin. If hair straighteners or other treatments cause burns or lesions on the scalp, more of the substances may be absorbed. Increased, more frequent exposure to the chemicals may further increase the risk of uterine cancer. Using more than one type of hair altering product may also increase the severity of hormone-related cancer risk.
If you used hair straighteners in the past, you may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and placed at increased risk of Uterine Cancer. People who received hair straightener treatments and developed Uterine or Ovarian Cancer may be eligible for compensation.