Hair Relaxers and Perms

A National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) study shows a link between another cosmetic product and cancer. The NIEHS, part of the National Institutes for Health (NIH), found that women who used chemical hair straightening products, also called hair relaxers or perms, more than four times per year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not.

This is particularly disturbing for the Black community, which uses these products more than any other group. Additionally, uterine cancer death rates are highest among non-Hispanic Black women. The NIH says this population is also more likely to be diagnosedwith aggressive uterine cancer subtypes.

Yet, hair relaxers have been marketed to the Black community for decades. In 2021 alone, makers of these products raked in upwards of $700 million in sales. These companies, including L’Oréal, ORS, Revlon, Strength of Nature Global, Softsheen-Carson and many others, knew their products contained toxic chemicals and could cause cancer. Yet, they failed to warn women of these risks.