All You Need to Know About Cancer and Unhealthy Hair Beauty Habits
Last month, October, was the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so as people started to become more health conscious about themselves, this would be the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the relationship between cancer and our day-to-day unhealthy hair beauty habits.
The Hair Addict talked with Dr. Nermeen Bedair, a Dermatology Consultant and Lecturer at Helwan University, to know more about the relationship between cancer and hair beauty routines.
Chemical straightening and hair relaxing treatments
The first thing that Dr. Bedair has warned us from is chemical straightening and hair relaxing treatments which usually go by the names Keratin, Protein, Botox, and Collagen Treatments. They generally have a chemical called Formalin, which has proven potential of causing cancer when it’s heated and the fumes are inhaled. She follows by saying that even the products which have the claim of being Formalin-free have a chemical substitute which doesn’t make it any safer.
Dr. Bedair pointed out that warning people to stay away from chemical straighteners doesn’t only apply to consumers, but is strongly recommended for hairdressers who offer that service. That’s because unlike the normal consumer, they inhale the harmful fumes on regular basis for extended periods of time and the negative effects aren’t diminished by wearing face masks.
One of the inspirational stories of cancer survival and hair journeys is that of wonder woman, Yasmin Yousri, a fashion stylist and lifestyle blogger who survived cancer three times. She embraced her natural self/hair despite the public life challenges and decided to go heat-free and leave her hair natural.
During the Natural Hair Fest, the first event for natural hair by The Hair Addict in Egypt and in the Middle-East, Yousri gave a speech and talked about her journey and said, “In the past five years, I lost my hair three times. My hair is precious to me and growing it back after all this was a miracle.”
As a blogger and someone who works in the media, Yasmin faced public life pressure! “As a lifestyle blogger, I attend events and I am always involved in photo shoots. So my hair needs to be straightened or blow-dried, but after taking care of it, I felt that my hair loves me more than ever,” Yousri said.
Bedair continued and explained that the negative effects of chemical straighteners aren’t only the cancer-causing potential, but they cause a great deal of hair damage and hair loss. However, it is considered a mild and temporary side-effect if we put it side to side with the risk of cancer.
Products of Unknown Sources
Secondly, Dr. Bedair alerted us from using products of unknown sources. Sometimes, we come across many products with vague origins that don’t state their ingredients and cut down on their production cost by using cheap plastic packaging. “If a type of unknown plastic packaging reacts with the ingredients that we don’t even know for sure, the result can be very harmful,” Dr. Bedair said.
Styling Products and Hair Dyes
Lastly, Dr. Bedair told us that most commercially released products don’t contribute to causing cancer even the ones who contain sulfates and silicones. Their only downside is that they can be too harsh and drying for the hair.
As for hair dyes, if they come from a known source they won’t cause cancer, but some might trigger severe allergic reactions. She recommends using hair dyes that are free of Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and Ammonia to avoid health complications from hair dye.