If You Dye Your Hair a Lot, You Need to Know About This Health Risk


Dyeing your hair can be a fun way to switch up your look and express yourself. But doing it too often could be bad for your health.

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According to a new study by London surgeon Dr. Kefah Mokbel, dyeing your hair too frequently could be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. Mokbel found that women who frequently dye their hair with synthetic color may have as much as a 14 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who don’t dye their hair as much.

Mokbel’s professional advice: Don’t dye your hair more than two to six times a year to be safe.

“Although further work is required to confirm our results, our findings suggest that exposure to hair dyes may contribute to breast cancer risk,” he explained.

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It’s important to stress that this correlation does not necessarily indicate causation — more research is needed to determine if the increase is caused by hair dye or if it might be attributed to another factor.

“The positive association between the use of hair dyes and breast cancer risk does not represent evidence of a cause-effect relationship,” Mokbel noted.

Even though there isn’t definitive evidence that frequent hair dyeing leads to an increased risk of breast cancer, Mokbel thinks that, given the possibility of a causal relationship, it’s not responsible for women to dye their hair as often as many beauty experts might recommend.

“What I find concerning is the fact that the industry recommends women should dye their hair every four to six weeks,” Mokbel said.

He explained his position further in a series of tweets:

If you do want to dye your hair frequently, you can reduce potential health risks by opting for natural products, such as henna, beetroot, and rose hip. While you might think henna is just for red hair, you can actually use it for browns as well, by adding indigo. As Mokbel recommends, you can also opt for hair dyes that contain less than a 2 percent concentration of aromatic amines. 

Expressing yourself through beauty is great — just make sure you’re taking any potential health risks into account.

Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She really identifies with Leslie Knope, especially on the issue of salad. http://www.kayleighroberts.com [twitter:kayleighroberts]