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Choose Natural Hair Coloring to Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer

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I remember when I visited my 70-year-old aunt, who still looks amazing, and I asked her what the secret was to looking young. She said "Color your hair."

Since then I've noticed that it's true. Older women who color their hair seem to look about 10 years younger than they actually are.

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would ever get highlights, I would have told you that I would never color my hair. A friend's mother always insisted that she thought I did but I just had natural blond summer highlights. That all changed after having kids. That's when the dirty blond hair became my prominent color. It doesn't suit me.

I started getting highlights about 3 or 4 years ago. I always hated the smell of the coloring. I know it's not good for me or the hair stylist. I've asked several times about whether there were any natural options and I had always been told no, but I knew there had to be some other options.

Toxic Hair Dyes

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical Schools suggested that women who use hair dyes five or more times a year have twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

And if that's not scary.....my friend's hair grows so quickly that at one point she was going to get her hair colored every six weeks. She stopped after a few months because her hair was falling out.


A natural option at the salon

A few weeks ago I saw an ad in my local paper for a salon that now has organic hair coloring. Whoo hoo! I was so excited, I went and booked my appointment.

It was wonderful. When the hair stylist was putting in the highlights, it didn't stink like it usually does. And I was really impressed with how the color turned out - it looks fantastic!

I will definitely go back again the next time I need highlights. I've already told several friends.

Look for salons that carry natural hair color in your community! I bet you will find it, if you look hard enough.

Add a Comment7 Comments

Thanks to the last post for sharing some additional research. Anyone who is looking to consider lessening their toxic load (on themselves and the environment), could consider a more natural hair colouring. The brand that was used is Essencity Line by Schwarzkopf.

October 28, 2009 - 7:57am
EmpowHER Guest

You should note that the study you are citing is a 1993 study involving only 189 women over a three year period. See Tzonou A, Polychronopoulou A, Hsieh CC, et. al. Hair dyes, analgesics, tranquilizers and perineal talc application as risk factors for ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer. 1993 Sep 30;55(3):408-10. PubMed PMID: 8375924. Unfortunately, one limited study does not a theory make. To reach your conclusion, a much larger study is needed.

In 2005, a meta-analysis study published in JAMA reviewed medical studies from 1963 through 2004 to determine if there was a connection between any form of cancer and hair dyes. 210 studies were identified and, of those, 79 were relevant to the topic. The researchers concluded, based upon this evidence, that there was not a marked increase in the risk of cancer among personal hair dye users. This study identifies only two studies that show increase risk of ovarian cancer -- the study that you cite above and one involving occupational hairdressers. Obviously, the occupational study can be distinguished, and as noted above, the 1993 study is dated with a small population of women tested over a three year period. There simply isn't enough scientific evidence to claim hair dye causes an increased risk of ovarian cancer. To review the larger hair dye/cancer study see Takkouche B, Etminan M, Montes-Martínez A. Personal use of hair dyes and risk of cancer: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2005 May 25;293(20):2516-25. PubMed PMID: 15914752.

August 13, 2009 - 1:55pm
(reply to Anonymous)

How interesting. You definitely seem to know your stuff! Are you a medical researcher? I'd love to know what organization you're affiliated with.

August 13, 2009 - 2:08pm

I had no idea that natural hair colors existed. Thanks for that! I get highlights done 3 times a year and will definately look around for the natural option.

I wonder whether it lasts as long or if it fades?

August 12, 2009 - 8:20pm

The salon at my fitness center, where I've been having my hair done, just started selling organic products and I'll have to see if that also includes hair coloring.

Thanks for your share!

Unlike Kristin being able to stay blonde, I have to deal with salt & pepper, LOL!

August 12, 2009 - 8:01pm
(reply to alysiak)

I just didn't happen to mention my gray....if I ignore it, then it isn't there, right?? ;)

August 12, 2009 - 10:15pm

What great info! I didn't know that you could find natural hair color at a salon. I figured it would have to be something you'd have to do at home. Do you happen to know (or can you find out) the brand of this natural hair color so I can look them up and find out what salons in my area use it?

I'm the same way....I used to be super blonde until I had kids (and got older), and then the dirty blonde came in. When I go natural, I do look much older, which seems weird to me, but oh well....I'll just stay blonde. :)

August 12, 2009 - 4:47pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.