Some popular hair products could have dangerous health consequences. An NIH-funded study published in October 2022 found an association between women who regularly used chemical hair relaxer products and uterine cancer:
- Participants who used hair relaxers were at an elevated risk of developing uterine cancer (endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma) compared to participants who did not use hair relaxers; AND
- Participants who used hair relaxers more than four times per year more than two and half times (>2.5x) more likely to develop uterine cancer than participants who did not use relaxers as often.
The study also warned that negative health impacts associated with using relaxers had the potential to impact Black and/or African American women more than women who identify with other races and ethnicities:
“...adverse health effects associated with straightener use could be more consequential for African American and/or Black women because of the higher prevalence and frequency of hair product use, younger age of initiating use, and harsher chemical formulations (i.e., higher concentrations of EDCs and chemicals being regulated or banned) than other races and ethnicities.”
An earlier report from the same study found that frequent users of hair relaxers were more than 2x as likely to develop ovarian cancer.