• Women's Cancer Research Foundation

Use of Hair Products in Relation to Ovarian Cancer Risk


In a 2021 study conducted by White et al., the authors evaluated the potential impact of carcinogens from hair products that may be absorbed into the bloodstream. The study occurred from 2003-2009 and included 40,559 study participants, ages 35-74. Study subjects completed questionnaires on hair product use, including hair dyes, straighteners/relaxers and permanents/body waves.


Study subjects completed questionnaires on hair product use, including hair dyes, straighteners/relaxers and permanents/body waves.

The primary analysis involved the association between hair products and incidence of ovarian cancer, with a mean study follow-up duration of 10 years. There were 241 women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While previous use of the individual hair products was not associated with ovarian cancer risk, frequent use (>4 times/year) of straighteners/relaxers or pressing products in the past year was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.


....frequent use (>4 times/year) of straighteners/relaxers or pressing products in the past year was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

The study findings suggest that routine use of hair straighteners/relaxers or pressing products, which are primarily used by Black women or women of African American descent, may be associated with the occurrence of ovarian cancer.


About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.



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