Are There Any Hair Relaxers That Don’t Cause Cancer?

Are There Any Hair Relaxers That Don’t Cause Cancer?

Many women are in search of alternatives to chemical hair relaxers and straighteners after recent studies alerted the public to the product’s potential to cause ovarian and uterine cancer. This alarming news spurred a wave of hair relaxer lawsuits against established hair care brands, such as L’Oreal. As researchers continue to investigate the specific carcinogens present in certain chemical hair relaxers, there is a frustrating level of ambiguity surrounding which products are safe to use.

While our personal injury attorneys remain hopeful that we will soon have clarity on this issue, for the time being, hair relaxers in general are assumed to present a cancer risk to consumers and should be used at your discretion. Our team at Lawsuit Legal News has been heavily involved in supporting women who have developed cancer from frequent chemical hair relaxer applications since the beginning of this litigation. 

Our hair relaxer lawyers will gladly review your case to determine if you qualify for compensation in a chemical hair relaxer cancer lawsuit, inform you of your rights, and explain how our product liability attorneys can help you maximize your compensation. You can reach us at (866) 535-9515 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a seasoned LLN personal injury attorney. 

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Found in Most Hair Relaxers May Increase Cancer Risk

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, are a class of carcinogenic substances that are known to upset the chemistry of the human body. The plaintiffs in the chemical hair relaxer cancer lawsuits have asserted the makers of chemical hair straighteners negligently used EDCs in their products without warning consumers of the increased risk of cancer. The scientific community has yet to establish an explicit or exclusive causal relationship between regular chemical hair straightener and hair relaxer use and higher rates of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and other health issues.

Several environmental and genetic factors are known to increase a woman’s risk of these types of cancers, such as a family history of ovarian cancer, so determining whether a singular entity is responsible is a challenge. However, there is enough of a correlation between women who use chemical hair relaxers more than four times a year and specific reproductive system cancers to be cause for concern. 

How Chemical Hair Relaxer Contaminants Cause Cancer By Amplifying Hormone Levels

What we do know is that significant exposure to EDCs can cause cancer, studies have confirmed that numerous EDCs are present in chemical hair relaxers, and women who use chemical hair relaxers more frequently are absorbing these substances more often through their scalps. The following endocrine-disrupting chemicals have already been identified in various chemical hair relaxers:

How Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Damage the Body

The endocrine system uses hormone signals to operate various functions within the body. Hormones bind to specific receptors, which then communicate the instructions to the corresponding organ. An endocrine-disrupting chemical can pose as a hormone or prevent a hormone from binding with its receptor. In the case of chemical hair relaxers, researchers believe that EDCs like Bisphenol A are imitating estrogen and deceiving the receptors into accepting higher levels of the hormone.

One of estrogen’s functions is to regulate the development of the female reproductive organs, so excessive levels of estrogen can induce unnecessary and ultimately unrestrained growth, which can take the form of cancer. Since researchers have identified endocrine-disrupting chemicals as the most likely source of cancer in chemical hair straightening products, the question now becomes which brands or chemical hair relaxer and hair straightener products are safe from these potential carcinogens.

Lack of Data Interferes With Identifying Dangerous Chemical Hair Relaxers

Unfortunately, the studies linking chemical hair relaxers to uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system lack the specificity necessary to provide a clear answer as to which, if any, chemical hair straighteners are safe.

At this point, EDCs have been discovered in a range of chemical hair relaxers, but this knowledge is not enough to ascertain a definitive cause of the increased cancer rates researchers have reported. Without more detailed information on product formulas and usage patterns, we can’t link endocrine-disrupting chemicals to certain ingredients and deduce which products are harmful

NIH Study Did Not Specify Which Hair Relaxers Were Used

For instance, in the NIH study that garnered major public interest in the dangers of chemical hair relaxers, researchers noted that the subset of women who used chemical hair relaxers at least four times each year developed uterine cancer at twice the rate as women who did not use chemical hair relaxers. However, the researchers who gathered the original data did not ask participants to provide information on which brands or products they used. 

It is also common for women to use more than one type or brand of chemical hair relaxer which would interfere with any follow-up attempts to find a pattern among the women who developed cancer in their reproductive system. In any event, chemical hair relaxers likely have considerable overlap in terms of ingredients. What this means for women who are concerned about the contents of their chemical hair relaxers is that products that purport to be free of carcinogens should not be taken at face value, given the limited information at our disposal. 

Non-Lye Based Chemical Hair Relaxers Are Not Necessarily Safer

Women seeking alternatives to the chemical hair relaxers involved in product liability lawsuits may consider turning to non-lye-based products and other types of chemical hair straighteners. So far, there is no proof that non-lye based hair relaxers have less cancer risk than traditional lye-based chemical hair relaxers like L’Oreal’s Dark and Lovely.

The current data we have only indicates that higher rates of uterine cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and serious reproductive health issues may be associated with significant exposure to chemical hair relaxers in general. 

Studies that have found this relationship did not name products or break down formulas, so we cannot disqualify any type of chemical hair relaxer from being a carcinogen whether it is lye-based or not. Knowing whether a particular lye-based relaxer contains carcinogens is complicated by manufacturers’ lack of transparency surrounding their ingredients. Without this information, it is not possible to know if the exact endocrine disruptors that are likely responsible for causing cancer are also found in lye-based chemical hair relaxers. 

Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney About Your Chemical Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Too many women have been exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair care products without their knowledge, leading them to develop cancers that can irreparably impact their fertility, reduce their quality of life, inflict considerable pain, and cost them heavily in medical bills and lost wages. Chemical hair relaxer manufacturers had an obligation to create reasonably safe products and warn their customers of any risks associated with using their chemical hair relaxers, but their consistent failure to do so has resulted in their current legal situation.

At Lawsuit Legal News, we are advocating for plaintiffs to receive the maximum compensation possible in the ongoing chemical hair relaxer multidistrict litigation. Our team of dedicated product liability lawyers can be a valuable asset in your chemical hair relaxer lawsuit by documenting the connection between your use of carcinogenic hair straighteners and reproductive cancer, providing access to helpful resources to support your claim, and delivering a powerful argument for a fair settlement. 

With our solid track record and roster of satisfied clients, you can rest assured that our team can offer you the legal support you need to recover what you are owed. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our exceptional chemical hair relaxer cancer lawyers by calling us at (866) 535-9515 or completing our online contact form.

Our hair relaxer lawyers will guide you through every stage of the personal injury claims process with the same level of communication and respect we offer each of our clients, taking the time to address any questions or concerns you may have.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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