top of page

Here's how hair relaxers and cancer might be linked

Updated: May 3, 2023

Hair relaxers are a common product typically used by the African American community to straighten their hair. A recent study shows that these products contain chemicals that could be linked to individuals developing uterine and endometrial cancer. Here's everything you need to know relating to this situation.

hair relaxer

What are Hair Relaxers?

Hair relaxers are hair straightening chemical products that straighten hair by breaking down cellular bonds deep within the hair strand. These products have been found to contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and other hazardous chemicals associated with cancer.

These products are generally used by black women to change the texture and overall look of their natural hair. It wasn't until a recent study that this link between these products and ovarian cancers were linked.

The study that found the link between hair straightening chemicals and uterine cancers

The NIH study started to research this topic because more and more women had developed uterine cancer over the past year. It was in this study that the tie between the use of hair relaxers and uterine/endometrial cancer was possibly correlated.

The results of this study were released in a journal published by the Cancer Institute in October of 2022. The study found that participants who used hair relaxers were at a higher risk to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not. The frequency of how many times they used the hair relaxer also played a role in how high the individual's cancer risk was. In fact, researchers found that women who use these hair straightening chemicals were found to be two times more likely of developing uterine cancer.

Which Hair Relaxers Are Linked to Uterine Cancer?

The study did not list any brand names specifically although it seems that certain products are found to utilize more of these harmful chemicals. Some of the companies that produce these hair relaxers that have been linked to uterine cancer are:

  • SoftSheen Carson (SSC), L’Oreal

  • SSC Dark and Lovely, L’Oreal

  • Mizani, L’Oreal

  • Revlon

  • Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil

  • African Pride

  • Africa’s Best

  • Just For Me

  • ProfectivMegaGrowth

  • Soft & Beautiful

  • Motions

  • Silk Elements

  • Isoplus

  • Crème of Nature

  • TCB Naturals

These are just a few companies that have made hair relaxers that could be problematic.

Concerns about hair products and cancer

The National Cancer Institute due to this study has begun to further its research into hair care products and whether they lead to increased risk for uterine cancer. The main factors contributing to hair relaxers' increased risk of cancer come from chemicals such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and parabens. These chemicals have been linked to causing other cancers such as breast cancer. Due to the fact that hair straightening chemicals are composed of a mix of chemicals, it is extremely hard to pinpoint exactly which is causing these reactions.

This is why cancer epidemiology group research has continued to expand their studies. They are now looking further into other straightening treatments such as Brazilian hair straightening and hair dyes as well. They want to know the adverse health effects these beauty treatments are having on people.

It is also important to note that hair relaxer use is something that frequent users generally started doing at earlier ages. Some may be as young as 12, and the more research that gets done on these chemical hair straightening products, the more issues have arisen.

Dangerous Chemicals in Hair Straightening Products

The types of chemicals found in hair straightening or relaxer products can disrupt a person's hormone balance and promote cancerous effects. These hazardous products include but are not limited to phthalates and diethanolamines.

According to the environmental health sciences, these compounds may be toxic in nature to the environment. That is why it comes as no shock that they are also toxic to human health, and can result in respiratory distress, endocrine disruption and developmental toxins, dermal effects, environmental persistence, and bioaccumulation of substances.

The results of this study have a greater impact on Black women

Almost half of the surveyed women reported frequent use of straighteners in the past year and self-identified black women made up 65% of that group. While the researchers found some correlation between chemical hair relaxers and uterine cancer risks, some salons and stores still sell these processes and kits.

Women Suing Hair Relaxer Manufacturers

Women should never have to worry that the processes or upkeep of their hair will cause them to develop uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, or any cancer for that matter. The companies responsible for these products are aware of the research and are failing in their obligation to keep consumers safe. These harmful chemicals often lead to severe and life-threatening consequences such as cancer, issues conceiving, or even death.

This is why some women have decided to take steps toward fighting back against these major companies. That is why you should call Demesmin and Dover Law Firm. We want to be able to help you gain the compensation you deserve for the injustices that these companies have allowed to occur.

We are a black-owned business and are dedicated to serving our community ensuring that we hold companies and individuals responsible for the actions they take. To us here at Demesmin and Dover, you are our family, friends, and part of us, that is why every case that comes through our doors is taken personally.

Think you may have been affected by these chemical hair straighteners? Click this page to see if your case applies. If so, give us a call at 866-954-MORE (6673) for your free consultation today, or go to our hair relaxers and cancer page to fill out the form!


bottom of page