A leading London-based breast cancer surgeon is advising women to limit the number of times they dye their hair to twice a year, and to try natural colourants as an alternative to chemical dyes.
Professor Kefah Mokbel, a breast cancer surgeon at the Princess Grace Hospital in central London, gave the advice after reviewing whether women who dye their hair have a greater risk of breast cancer. He identified a 14% rise.
Professor Mokbel says that further research is needed to confirm the results of his review, but says that the findings suggest that exposure to hair dyes may raise the risk of developing breast cancer.
He writes: “What I find concerning is the fact that the industry recommends women should dye their hair every four to six weeks.”
He suggests that women should aim to use hair colourants that contain primarily natural ingredients, such as henna, beetroot and rose hip.
The new UK study adds to a growing body of research into the potential carcinogenicity of hair dyes. A 2015 Finnish study which investigated whether hair dye use is associated with raised breast cancer risk in women found that the odds of breast cancer increased by 23% among women who used hair dyes compared to those who did not. In women born before 1950 an increase of 28% was noted. The Finnish researchers also observed a significant trend between the odds ratio and cumulative use of hair dyes.