According to a study published in the BMJ, there is no correlation to the use of permanent hair dye products to colour the hair and risk of most cancers or greater cancer-related mortality.
Though, before you run to the market to get those hair dyes, the authors say they did find a slight increase in the risk of ovarian cancer and some cancers of the breast and skin. The study found a slight impact of hair colour on the likelihood of some cancer.
Hair dye is being prominently used by older age groups who are keen to cover up signs of grey. Permanent hair dyes are the most aggressive hair dyes which are used extensively in the US and Europe, and an even greater proportion in Asia.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer had earlier classified occupational exposure to hair dyes as a probable carcinogen, but there had been no warning about personal use because existing evidence is inconclusive.
The results of the study observed that there was no risk of most cancers or of cancer death in women who reported using permanent hair dyes than those who had never used such dyes.
It was found that hair dye usage did not increase the risk of cancers of the brain, bladder, kidney, colon, lung, blood and immune system, or most cancers of the skin or breast.
Earlier studies have shown that the use of permanent hair dyes was associated with increased risk of the basal cell carcinoma, three types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in light-haired women.
“Possible explanations could be that shades of permanent hair dyes are associated with the concentration of ingredients, with darker colours having higher concentrations,” the authors say.
The study has its limitations which include the lack of racial diversity of study participants and other unmeasured factors, such as the use of other products that may have impacted the results.