But now it’s time to decide… color or not? Grey or blonde? Are hair dyes toxic enough to cause cancer? I did a little research and found this from the American Cancer Society. Here are excerpts that summarize findings…
It’s not clear how much personal hair dye use might raise cancer risk, if at all. Most studies done so far have not found a strong link, but more studies are needed to help clarify this issue.
Most of the studies looking at whether hair dye products increase the risk of cancer have focused on certain cancers such as bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer. These studies have looked at 2 groups of people:
- People who use hair dyes regularly
- People who are exposed to them at work
Bladder cancer: Most studies of people exposed to hair dyes at work, such as hairdressers and barbers, have found a small but fairly consistent increased risk of bladder cancer. However, studies looking at people who have their hair dyed have not found a consistent increase in bladder cancer risk.
Leukemias and lymphomas: Studies looking at a possible link between personal hair dye use and the risk of blood-related cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma have had mixed results. For example, some studies have found an increased risk of certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (but not others) in women who use hair dyes, especially if they began use before 1980 and/or use darker colors. The same types of results have been found in some studies of leukemia risk. However, other studies have not found an increased risk. If there is an effect of hair dye use on blood-related cancers, it is likely to be small.
Breast and other cancers: Most studies looking at hair dye use and breast cancer have not found an increased risk. For other types of cancer, too few studies have been done to be able to draw any firm conclusions.
Many people use hair dyes, so it is important that more studies are done to get a better idea if these dyes affect cancer risk.
For me, all of this is… clear as mud. So am I going to color my hair? Well, vanity won the day. I did it. I love it. And I’m now on a quest to find a good hair color that is non-toxic and one that my stylist will agree to try on me.