A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has linked hair relaxers to uterine fibroids, as well as early puberty in young girls. Scientists followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009 and found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroids among black women may be

Study Links Hair Relaxers To Fibroid Tumors and Early Puberty In African American Females

Study Links Hair Relaxers To Fibroid Tumors and Early Puberty In African American Females
    A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has linked hair relaxers to uterine fibroids, as well as early puberty in young girls. Scientists followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009 and found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroids among black women may be […]

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  1. One of the many reasons to embrace natural hair as it is!

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  4. The quality of the medical research done on blacks and other minorities is abysmal. The research on fibroids in black women actually showed that “black” women with greater European ancestry had fewer fibroids. But wait a minute. We know that African-American women with less European ancestry use the most hair relaxer because their hair is more tightly curled. But we also know that white women have fewer fibroids than black women. Thus “black” women with greater European ancestry will naturally have fewer fibroids than “black” women with little if any European ancestry. So what has this multimillion dollar research actually proved?


  5. For the folks that say it is not credible… Please just take a look at the pictures of how the chemicals from perms are handled during the manufacturing process. And if you choose to put that substance on you or your child’s scalp, certainly your prerogative. However, I maintain that some things don’t require statistics and studies but rather careful common sense and consideration. Only stated out of love for my beautiful sisters for long life and health.

    From my research and college chemistry text books…
    No judgment on my family that chooses relaxers. I love my people so I want you to be informed.

    Types listed so you can read about each type yourself if you like. There are several different types but here are a few:

    Alkaline and Lye relaxers
    Thio relaxers
    “Base” and “no base” formulas” Defines if you need petroleum to protect your skin prior to application.
    Keep in mind that when your skin gets “burned”… It gives the chemicals easier access to bloodstream absorption.

    Cosmetic products are not subject to pre-market approval by the Food and Drug Administration and a complete list of ingredients is not mandatory, however many brands of hair relaxers list phthalate directly as one of their chemical ingredients. Phthalates from cosmetic products can be inhaled or absorbed by the skin and these have been shown to have estrogenic effects in cell models and experimental animals.
    Chemicals used in relaxers:
    Potassium hydroxide: is an inorganic compound with the formula KOH, commonly called caustic potash. . It has many industrial and niche applications; used most in applications exploit its reactivity toward acids and its corrosive nature.

    No Lye:
    Sodium hydroxide is used in many industries, mostly as a strong chemical base in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps and detergents and as a drain cleaner.

    Guanidine is the compound with the formula HNC(NH2)2. It is a colourless solid that dissolves in polar solvents. It is a strong base that is used in the production of plastics and explosives. It is found in urine as a normal product of protein metabolism.

    Always my people… We long to be truly free… Our individual choices and opinions should be respected.

    Love Peace & Napiness.

  6. View the following video in which a naturopathic doctor talks about the dangers of hair relaxers and why she chose to go natural.

  7. Burn da Perm & Rock the Fro / Black Girls your spiral curls are beautiful!!

  8. I was one of those people wjo was given a perm really as a child. Every eight weeks like clockwork I got a touchup. My menstral cycle came on when I was nine and I had fibroids. Four years ago I went natural choosing to reduce chemical exposure to my body. I have no more permed hair and guess what? No more Fibroids! My mentral cycle even changed from being extremely painful to no cramps at all. Something worked.

  9. I agree with other people. This story lacks credibility and it jsut seems to be scaremongering people into thinking that relaxers are bad. I am not promoting to use it but if you want to, you should be able to make the decision based on credible sources.

  10. This story is a sad example of lazy, inaccurate reporting. The “study” cited here is a conflation of two research studies. Neither of which make the claims outlined in the write-up above.

    Check out Danielle Lee’s post on the Scientific American website about aaaaalllll the problems wrong with this article.

    We all need to start asking ourselves: WHO INVESTIGATED THIS?

    As one of my favorite Black bloggers has pointed out (specifically regarding the lackadaisical journalism in this piece) : “Sadly, as much our leaders exclaim the importance of education, however, our collective exercise of scientific literacy has been lacking. This is one such instance.”

  11. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. Here’s the deal: Skin is a living breathing organ. It absorbs things. Animal placenta is added to a lot of hair products, especially African American products. One of the reasons is because it is thought to add moisture and soften(So they say). You need extra moisture on relaxed hair. PLACENTA =HORMONES.
    Fibroids tend to shrink after menopause because of the decrease in hormone(estrogen). So to Me, that suggest that hormones, especially estrogen is one of the culprits of fibroids. A lot of our African-American products(not just relaxers) have these hormones. There have also been links to breast cancer with these products. Now I personally don’t think it’s the only reason. I also blame it on soy. But I do think it’s probably one of the biggest reasons… I know sometimes it’s hard to let go of something that you’ve been depended on. And there’s always the people who say “so and so has been doing it for years and nothing has happen. But remember people say that about smoking but we still know you’re more likely to get lung cancer if you do it. The bottom line is, in this country you have to do you’re own research and connect the dots. The FDA is not always to be trusted. Think about what you are willing to sacrafice for a superficial payoff. If you’re will to take that chance then that is your right and your lifes journey. I personally don’t want to take that risk. And after being diagnosed with having fibroids and knowing they can cause miscarrages, I’d rather do all I can to protect myself and my unborn children. You can see how I live my life working to rid myself of toxins at: http://calivegans.com/

  12. Correlation is not causation. Black women get more fibroids independent of relaxers, wtf? But in any case, relaxers are pure poison and we need to stop letting dangerous chemicals seep into our brains, imho. I stopped relaxing last year, and I did have fibroids BUT I had them YEARS before I started relaxing and my mom had them years before there were relaxers. So I agree with the woman who said find another cause.

    Sisters, better you should weave than relax. Weaves give you a better look, I think. Unless you have Oprah Winfrey hair and Andre to help you style it, weave is better for thickness, straightness and if you maintain it right you won’t damage your hair. Of course you can also go natural and pocket your cash like me.

    Man, I was spending upwards of $200 a month to relax and color. It’s going into my emergency fund now and I find my natural hair much easier to care for now that I know how.

  13. I too have suffered for years from fibroid tumors; I was actually diagnosed in the early 90’s a few years after my son was born. I’ve relaxed my hair with ‘regular’ & ‘mild’ relaxers off & on for yrs as well. I’m also of AA/Native Amer./Mex.-Amer. heritage… I also eat soy/tofu (estrogen) based products on occasion but not too frequently. I guess I’m ‘screwed’! :( However, I do notice a change in my symptoms when consuming soy/tofu products that I hadn’t noticed until …There’s also info floating around about tofu/soy’s effects on fibroids due to the estrogen’s increase in our bodies. I can SOMEWHAT understand the correlation between the ‘relaxers/straighteners’ and the POSSIBILITY of it’s CONTRIBUTION to fibroid growth. Our skin is pretty much like a GLAND and contains 7-layers…So logically, what we put ON our skin is absorbed into the body…There are certain hair dye’s that I cannot use. I noticed a few times when using a certain shade of ‘black’ (semi-permanent color), the day following application, it’s being secreted when I blow my nose! Eeeww. LOL But, unless that article SPECIFICALLY ISOLATED AN EXACT CHEMICAL-COMPOUND/CHEMICAL NAME of what causes the growth of fibroids then I would just take heed of the information as the study may have only been a BASELINE/PILOT STUDY in the first place. I’m going to look-up article on AJE’s website & read for myself. Nevertheless, it’s interesting information to further investigate.


      FOOTNOTE: I also believe the HIGH-RATE OF HYSTE’S for AA women still in child-bearing age is so we are unable to PROCREATE and so the surgeon gets paid more for EXCISING/REMOVING via the HYSTERECTOMY vs. performing a MYOMECTOMY (REMOVING THE TUMOR & NOT THE UTERUS) OR performing UFE( UTERINE FIBROID EMBOLIZATION). The entire hysterectomy ‘stuff’ for child bearing-age issue is similar to the cervical-cancer vaccine & Tuskegee Institute ‘experiment’…(Just my opinion)

  14. I do not believe this at all mainly because in my day there were no relaxers, nor in two generations that came before me. The ladies in my age group did not have early puberty. The girls that I know never had relaxers but they did suffer from fibroids. Obviously there must be other reasons.

    No one has ever done a study on the detriment we have suffered by being dragged from Africa and deposited in the US in climates that do not favor us.
    Why is it that a number of Black women become bald? Some baldness begins to show during puberty? There are so many factors that have not been investigated to date.

    Considering what they did with the Tuskegee experiment, I seriously doubt that they could get many Black to participate in such a study.

    • I never knew black women starting to bald during puberty. I did notice black women hair thinning after pregnancy and menopause—which are all hormonal related. Good or bad hormones determine your overall looks.

    • perfect!!! This studies is highly needed. The issue is, we have to carry out this studies ourselves. Can’t be waiting for others to do it for us. connect so we discuss more. ndiforgroup att gmail dot com

  15. One of the things that got me about Malcolm X was his rap about conching – using lye to straighten black people’s hair. I actually me Malcolm at Michigan State which was pretty cool. Anyway what happened to Black is Beautiful and afros. I once had a Jewish Afro but now I am bald.

  16. So, I saw a similar posting on another site regarding this same issue. There article basically said that there was a link between relaxers/African American Women/Fibroid Tumors. They stated that AA woman have the highest rate of fibroid tumors, and that the study shows that it’s because of the perms.

    This is what my response was:

    African Americans have a higher rate of all health issues than any other race. My philosophy is that most of us are stressed out (for whatever reason), thus if stress can kill, I am sure that it can cause other health related issues as well. I do not believe that it’s the hair relaxer. Since a large portion of AA women do use relaxers, they will use that to try to come up with a scientific reason behind fibroid tumors.

    In addition to stress, environment, and diet may play a role. I am sure that alot of the lab rats that they used live in the inner cities. We all know that they ship the lowest grade and quality foods to the inner city. I know it by experience. It has been said that the amount of deadly pesticides, and the way that they breed the food that we eat can cause great harm to our bodies (sure any kind of tumors can be a result). So, perhaps a combination of many things can cause fibroid tumors, and it’s no surprise that the candidates that they used to do these studies are not rocking a “natural.”

    African Americans also have a higher rate of diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, asthma, HIV, and the list can go on. Maybe it was the perm? No, there is no need to always try to come up with a scientific reason for everything.

    I was diagnosed with Fibroid Tumors back in 2010, and it was right after a stressful period of my life. I had been having regular yearly check-ups, and had no signs of Fibroid Tumors prior to 2009, which is when the most stressful time of my life begin.

    So for me, I have concluded that stress causes tumors. For others, I am sure you have your own reason for developing them. But non the less, I can guarantee almost that there is no scientific evidence to show that there is a connection between fibroid tumors and relaxers. The only connection between the relaxers and fibroid tumors is that not too many African American women are doing the “natural” these days, thus the relaxer is just a coincidence in my opinion.

  17. Too much ESTROGEN absorbed and or comsumed by the body is the proven cause of tumors in women…hair growth products…chicken and other foods with estrogen added via hormones. The body becomes embalanced, as most females are born with a natural normal level of hormones…adding so much more is bound to have its effects. We need to read the lables of what we put on our skin as well. Stick to natural products and educate our youth on what not to eat and use. There are herbal remedies for reducing fibroids…and detoxifcation of our bodies on a regular basis ridding the body of parasites can strengthen your energies. Research and even watch what type of birth control you ingest…knowledge is key.

  18. I can believe anything right now…Mississippi has the highest number of hystretomies performed than any state in the nation. They are being performed on African American women…there needs to be a reason for the uterine fibroids.

  19. I believe the harsh chemicals can cause some kind of damage, but I am not sure about the fibroids. These chemicals for straightening your hair and that can burn you severly must have some kind of bad effect on the body. It’s not just about Black women, white women also use chemicals to straighten hair, curl hair, and everyone colors their hair at the salon. All of this is more then likely not healthy. Most women of all colors, like to try a different style, color, or something different. It doesn’t mean they are not proud of their heritage or culture. So many Black men say that, but they do not understand that Black women just like any woman want choices in style and in different looks. But, the chemicals used to create all of these looks should be a lot milder and better for you instead of being dangerous. I am sure by now they should be able to invent something much better. The real problem, they are not being pushed into creating a better and safer product. All women should demand a better product.

  20. I have often wondered what side effects could result from using relaxers and permanents. After all, it is the chemicals that are the catalyst for straightening and relaxing hair. Do the chemicals penetrate below the skin level into the hair follicle and glands? If so, what happens after that? I don’t know, this isn’t my area of expertise. This article doesn’t provide enough information for me to make an informed decision. I hope that future articles on this topic will be more informative.

  21. NONSENSE!!!

  22. What a crock!! I’m totally surprised to find this partial statement on the Black World Coalition. There is source info listed for this so called study i.e. month & year study was published, who conducted thr study, etc. I have know known many women of color (including Hispanic & Asian) who had fibroids who became victims of unnecessary hysterectomy. They were on Medicaid & the doctor was paid more for preforming a hysterectomy than a myomectomy (removal of the fibroids) during the ’80’s & ’90’s. Fact these women didn’t use hair relaxers because many of these women had straight hair.

  23. “Get the kinks out of your mind instead of your hair.” Marcus Garvey about 80 yrs ago. This whole issue is rooted in the belief that white/Indian hair is superior to black hair. That belief is counter productive to how you ultimately feel about yourself. The psychic damage and billions of dollars, in many cases rent money, drained out of the black community because of this hangup is a major tragedy. Sooner or later black men and women will have to embrace the natural and true beauty that black women bring to this world. It almost got done in the 60s & 70s. It was not about style, it was about self.

  24. How about posting articles that actually have more than a headline?!

  25. This is very interesting to me because I have been and still am a woman who has been dealing with fibroids and the blood loss associated with having them. If this is true we need to be compensated for our health related issues and this needs to be mentioned as a side affect of using relaxers.

  26. What a bunch of crock. I am a black female and so was my mom I had fibroids and so did she and we never had a relaxer.Find another cause

    • @ Christ, you are so right. This is, yet, another cause of irresponsible media. There is NO medical correlation to relaxers and fibroid or puberty. I experienced puberty very young and never had a relaxer prior, nor had my mother. When are we gonna stop reading this crap?

    • i don’t think i will be quick to dismiss this study because for far too many years issues dealing with our people how been few and far between. look at many of the young girls, they are developing way too soon and it may just be linked to the foods loaded with perservatives. as for the hair, i can believe there are adverse effects to lathering ones hair with chemical relaxers and the assortment of goops & gels. i would like to see much more research done and will look at it with a discearning eye at the same time.

    • The article didn’t say that getting relaxers is the SOLE reason for getting fibroids. They said there was a higher rate associated with women getting relaxers. You can still get fibroids and never have had a relaxer in your life.

    • Chris, they didn’t say that was the only cause, they said it was linked to them. That’s a big difference.