Study finds link between Black hair products and breast cancer

Like many, Black women especially, Christal Love has been quite adventurous with her hair.

“Natural was a stigma back in the day,” said Love. “I used to perm my hair. I used to color my hair all of the typical things that women do.”

Love continued her adventures in hair styling until 2016 when she found a lump on her breast.

“She said no to it’s stage three – maybe stage four,” said Love.

Through rigorous chemotherapy, she beat cancer and at that point, she was staring at a bald head and she took a hard look at all of her haircare products.

“We’ve heard about them being linked to issues and cancer being harmful to us,” she said. “But after cancer that’s when I’m like ‘Ok I got to pay attention to what I put into my body and put on my body.”

New research at the City of Hope studied the effect of parabens, a popular ingredient in many black hair products, on cell lines from Black breast cancer patients versus white breast cancer patients.

“We saw increased cell growth in the Black breast cancer cell line with the paraben treatment but did not see the effects in the white breast cancer cell lines at the dose that was tested,” said Dr. Lindsey Treviño.

The study solidified Love’s hunch and she’s since ditched the chemical brands. She’s also making sure those harmful products say out of her daughter’s hair.

“I’d rather be natural and not have to worry about another what if again,” she said.

According to Treviño, people should avoid three ingredients: parabens, phthalates and fragrances.

“You can actually scan the barcodes of the products that you are currently using and find out how hazardous they are for your health,” said Treviño.

Love said that now that she only uses natural products her puff is here to stay.

“It took me a long time to get there but I say own it,” she said. “Rock it.”

An app that helps determine if hair products contain harmful substances can be found here.

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