Women should dye their hair only two to five times a year and use products with more natural ingredients, such as beetroot, to reduce the risk of cancer, a breast surgeon has advised.
Professor Kefah Mokbel, a breast cancer surgeon at the Princess Grace Hospital in central London, reviewed studies of whether women who dyed their hair had a greater risk of breast cancer. He found a 14 per cent rise. His study concluded: “Although further work is required to confirm our results, our findings suggest that exposure to hair dyes may contribute to breast cancer risk.”
Professor Mokbel suggests women dye their hair less often and switch to products with natural ingredients. “What I find concerning is the fact that the industry recommends women should dye their hair every four to six weeks.” He said some dyes used natural ingredients, such as henna and rose hip.
Research in Finland also found women who used hair dye were more likely to develop breast cancer. But Sanna Heikkinen, of the Finnish Cancer Registry, said it had not been proven that dye was causing the increase.
“We did observe a statistical association between hair dye and risk of breast cancer. However, it is not possible to confirm a true causal connection. It might be, for example, that women who use hair dye also use other cosmetics more than women who reported never using hair dye,” she said.