What Are Hair Straighteners?
Hair straighteners, also called hair relaxers, are chemical products that are applied to the hair to loosen the curl level or change the texture.
What Is Uterine Cancer?
Uterine sarcoma or uterine cancer is a type of cancer which affects tissues of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is another a type of cancer that forms in the lining or endometrium of the uterus.
What Are the Risks for Uterine Cancer?
Black women are considered to be higher risk for being diagnosed with certain aggressive cancers affecting the female reproductive organs including breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine cancer. The cancers are often aggressive, diagnosed at later stages, less likely to receive early treatment and are often more fatal than similar cancers in other ethnic groups.
In addition to race, risk factors for uterine cancer also include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Family history
- Estrogen imbalance
What Are the Symptoms of Uterine Cancer?
Symptoms of uterine cancer include:
- Irregular or unusual bleeding between periods
- Post-menopausal uterine bleeding
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during urination
- Feeling of abdominal swelling or pelvic heaviness
- Unexplained weight loss
How Are Hair Straighteners Linked to Uterine Cancer?
Results of a study performed by the National Institutes of Health have shown that hair straighteners may contain toxic chemicals which increase the risk of uterine cancer. The risk may be greater for Black and Hispanic women who often use hair straighteners more frequently and begin using them at younger ages. Frequent use of hair straighteners may double the risk of uterine cancer.
What Hair Straighteners have been Linked to Uterine Cancer Risk?
Hair Straightener Products linked to increased risk of uterine cancer may include:
SoftSheen Carson (SSC), L’Oreal
- Multi Mineral Reduced Ph Creme Relaxer
- Multi-Mineral Reduced Ph Crème Relaxer
- No Base Relaxer
- Optimum Smooth Multi-Mineral Creme Hair Relaxer
- Precise No Lye Conditioning Relaxer Supreme
- Precise No Lye Original Relaxer
- Salon Collection Hair Relaxer Super Strength – Optimum Salon Haircare
- Salon Collection Relaxer Regular Strength – Optimum Salon Haircare
SSC Dark and Lovely, L’Oreal
- Beautiful Beginnings Kids No-Mistake Nourishing No-Lye Crème Relaxer
- Healthy Gloss Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer
- Moisturizing Relaxer with Shea Butter
- Triple Nourished Silkening Relaxer
- Butter Blend Sensitive Scalp Rhelaxer
- Sensitive Scalp Rhelaxer
- Conditioning Crème Relaxer
Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil
- Girls Hair Relaxer
- Mild Touch Relaxer
- New Growth Relaxer
- No Base Relaxer
- No-Lye Relaxer
- Professional Crème Relaxer
- Zone Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Anti-breakage No-Lye Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning No-Lye Relaxer
- Olive Miracle Deep Conditioning 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
- Luxury Moisturizing Shea Butter Relaxer
- MegaSilk Shea Butter Relaxer
- No-Lye Conditioning Relaxer
Crème of Nature
- Argan Oil Relaxer
- Conditioning No-Lye Hair Relaxer
- No Base Crème Hair Relaxer
What Hair Straightener Chemicals Cause Uterine Cancer Risk?
Hair Straightener products may contain formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals thought to be carcinogenic. They may also contain other toxic chemicals including parabens, phthalates, cyclosiloxanes, diethanolamine and others which may release formaldehyde or be hormone disruptors that may increase the development of hormone-dependent cancers. Both products which are applied in a salon and those purchased at home may contain the toxic chemicals which are linked to increased cancer risk.
Do Other Treatments Increase Hair Straightener Uterine Cancer Risk?
In addition to risk from application of hair straightener products, use of heated appliances such as flat irons and hair dryers and other hair treatments may cause increased release of formaldehyde and toxic chemicals. Hair treatments which burn or cause lesions on the scalp, and more frequent use of hair straighteners may increase the amount of chemicals which are absorbed by the body. Using other products which contain additional chemicals that may be hormone disruptors may have added impact.
Do All Hair Straighteners Increase the Risk for Uterine Cancer?
Most hair straighteners contain chemicals which have been linked to increased risk of uterine cancer. A limited number of hair straighteners do not contain these chemicals and are usually marketed as “non-toxic” and “vegan”. They are often expensive and difficult to find or only available in high-end salons.
Why Do People Use Hair Straighteners?
Hair Straighteners are used by people who have textured hair to give the hair a smooth, shiny appearance. They may also be used by people who have hair that curls or frizzes in a way that they perceive as negative.
Are Black and Hispanic Women More at Risk from Hair Straighteners?
Black women are more likely to be at risk for certain hormonally-linked cancers including breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and uterine cancer. They may have added risk of hair straightener-related uterine cancer than other ethnic groups due to an increased use of the products.
In addition to more frequent use, Black and Hispanic women may have begun using hair straightener treatments in childhood or in the teen years. They also may continue using them occasionally or frequently through adulthood. The study which shows uterine cancer risk appears to be related to lifetime risk of hair straighteners but did not show a link to other types of hair treatments including hair dyes and permanents.
What Is the Sister Study?
The “Sister Study” performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute in October 2022. It was a large study which examined medical records and lifestyle information about 33,000 women who were sisters of breast cancer patients. Some of these women were followed for up to 11 years.
Do Hair Straighteners Increase the Risk for Other Cancers?
In addition to the Sister Study, other studies have previously confirmed a link between these chemicals and development of breast and other hormone-related cancers. The Sister Study was the first to identify a risk for uterine cancer.
How Is Uterine Cancer Treated?
Uterine cancer may be addressed with a combination of one or more treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
How Long Does the Hair Straightener Risk for Uterine Cancer Last?
The risk for uterine cancer associated with hair straightener use may be long lasting. The more often and earlier hair straightening treatments are used, the greater the risk of uterine cancer development in later life.
Have Hair Straighteners Been Recalled?
No hair straightening products have been recalled due to uterine cancer risk.
Should You Consider a Hair Straightener Uterine Cancer Lawsuit?
Women who used hair straighteners may be at increased risk of uterine cancer. Black and Hispanic women may have been more likely to use hair straighteners with toxic chemicals and may have used them more frequently. These women may have more than double the risk of uterine cancer than women who do not use the products.
Manufacturers may be facing thousands of lawsuits due to uterine cancer claims. Women or loved ones of those who developed uterine cancer after using hair straighteners may be eligible for compensation.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.