New research says some hair products may affect women's health.
A recent study by the American Journal of Epidemiology says the
chemicals used in hair relaxers may be linked to tumors and early
puberty in black women.
"These products are not regulated by the (Food and Drug
Administration), so we don't know how much of these components
are in these products and what their true effect is on the body,"
said Dr. Janifer Tropez Martin of Tulane University.
The study followed more than 23,000 African-American women and
found that black women are two to three times more likely to have
fibroids. Research claims that higher tumor rate may be connected
to chemicals that enter the bloodstream through cuts or burns on
a woman's head.
"When you break that natural barrier -- the skin -- that's an
invitation to everything else to start penetrating -- unwanted
chemicals for example," said Karoline Finch of the Mississippi
Institute of Aesthetics, Nails Cosmetology.
Finch has been relaxing and styling hair for 36 years.
"Skin is a natural barrier. It's like wearing a raincoat," Finch
Finch said she's heard about the report, but said she uses mostly
new products designed to stop chemicals from getting into the
skin. Another beautician, Garnesha Martin of Elements Hair
Studio, said she believes there could be a connection between
fibroids, puberty and relaxers.
"Using too much of anything can cause problems on anything,"
Martin said. "You just never know."
Martin said she prefers to straighten her clients' hair without
"There are other ways that we can definitely style the hair, or
achieve whatever style they want -- from the straight to the
curly," Martin said.
Jocelin Cox said she got her first hair relaxer when she was 4
"My mother, my aunts, all of my cousins -- we have all had
relaxers," Cox said.
Now, 15 years later, she's decided to go natural.
"A lot of parents feel like they're frustrated with trying to
deal with the natural texture of hair, so they just put a relaxer
in it and don't worry about it," Cox said.
The study says African Americans, who are more likely to use hair
relaxers, reached menstruation earlier than other racial/ethnic
Jackson family physician, Dr. Timothy Quinn, said hair products
may not be to blame.
"If you have a child that's very overweight, they'll have a lot
of fat tissue that produces estrogen at a higher level that can
stimulate an early menstrual cycle," Quinn said.
Quinn said even without the relaxers, African-American women have
always been more prone to fibroids.
"The most important thing to take home is there is a need for
further study, which I'm very sure will be done, but as of now
there's no immediate risk to public safety," Quinn said.
Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47386101