Hair relaxer use was not associated with breast cancer risk overall in 59,000 self-identified Black women enrolled in a study that began in 1995. However, the heaviest users of lye-containing products – those who used these products at least seven times a year for 15 or more years, had about a 30 percent increased risk of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, which is diagnosed at a younger age and has a higher mortality rate.
- See “Moderate Use of Hair Relaxers Does Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk Among Black Women” on the Boston University School of Medicine website (May 24, 2021)
- See abstract of scientific paper “Hair product use and breast cancer incidence in the Black Women’s Health Study” by
Patricia F Coogan et al.