New study shows the vast majority of hair products aimed at black women contain toxic chemicals linked to infertility, obesity and cancer

hair science topical

Last week a news article brought attention to a huge problem facing women: our beauty products can be hazardous to our health. A huge number of cosmetic products still contain parabens which have been linked in scientific studies to cancer, reduced muscle mass, weight gain and hormone disruption.

Whilst all women face risks from cosmetics, this research showed women caring for their afro hair are at increased risk of serious harm. The study published in the Environmental Research journal showed over 78% of hair products marketed towards black women containing chemicals linked to obesity, infertility and cancer. 

toxic chemicals black products (Photo credit: DioBurto)

Products to avoid included not only relaxers, which are widely known to cause harm since Chris Rock’s documentary, “Good Hair, but also seemingly healthy products such as hot-oil treatments, hair lotions, anti-frizz polishes, leave-in conditioners and root stimulators.

The study showed that around 80% of relaxers contain toxic chemicals such as parabens as well as phthalates which are commonly used as preservatives despite being linked to early menopause, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Further, 100% of mainstream black hair care products contain artificial fragrances which can cause asthma, eczema, muscle pain, bloating, sinus pain, fatigue, eye irritation, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, dizziness and burning or itching skin irritations.

toxic chemicals black hair products

We've written about this before as making our community safe is one of our core missions, it's why we started Afrocenchix. We believe all women should be able to access safe and effective haircare at their convenience, that's why all of our products are 97-100% natural and we never use parabens, sulphates, phthalates, harsh preservatives or artificial fragrances.

The scientists behind the paper encourage haircare brands to make safer cosmetics, in the meantime they recommend that you reduce your chemical exposure by choosing natural products. Looking for products that are paraben and fragrance free, and preferably plant-based or organic is one of their top tips.

Our vegan certified range of products for afro & curly hair are formulated with health in mind and we encourage holistic wellbeing, that's the reason you'll find our products in Whole Foods, Greenbay, G Baldwins, The Grocery and the best independent health stores.

What do you think? Are you shocked or unsurprised that black women are still 'over-exposed and under-protected from toxic chemicals'? Let us know if you have any ideas for other ways we can fix the broken black hair care industry.

Full study: Jessica S. Helm et al, Measurement of endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemicals in hair products used by Black women, Environmental Research (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.03.030 

More articles:

Risky Chemicals in Black Beauty Products

Afrocenchix in Whole Foods! 

5 Things You Need to Know About Natural Hair

Healthy Hair? It's All About Balance


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