Dyeing your hair could increase your breast cancer risk

Researchers suggest you should dye your hair no more than six times per year.  (Photo: Getty)

A new study suggests that women who dye their hair frequently are 14 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer.

Professor Kefah Mokbel, the lead breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace Hospital, observed a positive association between the use of hair dyes and breast cancer risk after combining data from multiple studies as part of a meta-analysis.

“What I find concerning is the fact that the industry recommends women should dye their hair every four to six weeks,” Professor Mokbel said. He suggests women reduce their exposure to synthetic hair dye to two to six times per year and undergo regular breast screening from the age of 40.

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“It would be preferable to choose hair dyes that contain the minimum concentration of aromatic amines such as PPD (less than 2 per cent),” he added, noting that women should use products with natural ingredients. “It is reasonable to assume that hair dyes that consist of natural herbal ingredients such as rose hip, rhubarb, etc., are safe.”

Still, Mokbel concludes that the link between hair dyes and breast cancer rates is only a correlation.

“Further research is required to clarify the relationship between hair dies and breast cancer risk in order to better inform women.”

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In another recent study, researchers from Cleveland have found differences in the bacterial composition of breast tissue in women with breast cancer vs. healthy women. They discovered that healthy breast tissue contains more of a bacterial species called methylobacterium — a finding that could potentially offer a new perspective in the battle against breast cancer.

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