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Are Your Hair Products Hurting You?

Hair Chemicals, Fibroids, and Breast Cancer

By MelanyeMaclin,M.D.

Magazine Contributor

News regarding use of hair chemicals and a major health issue officially emerged in December 2019. Let me first begin by stating that I am not against chemical hair relaxers or dyes. My first relaxer was at age 10, but my last one was at age 30, a year after starting my hair research company and gaining knowledge about potential serious health links.

Many have assumed for years that it was ridiculous that hair chemicals or dyes could affect the reproductive system. However, the chemicals—especially the sodium hydroxide in lye relaxers, and the various hydroxides (calcium, lithium, and guanine) in no-lye relaxers, texturizers and kiddie perms—absorb and ‘burn’ into your scalp through the numerous pores, cuts, and scratches found there. These chemicals can not only damage your hair roots, but more importantly absorb into your scalp’s blood vessels, therefore entering your main bloodstream. This can result in your body producing hormone-disrupting chemicals affecting both your reproductive system and breasts.

Since 1999, I have studied thousands of hair loss cases, many of which were a result of chemical relaxers. However, it was interesting that many of these women were also suffering from uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths). The fibroids cause longer and heavier monthly bleeding, which can result in having to take iron pills for anemia. In fact, when studies were published in 2011 linking chemical hair relaxers to early menses before age ten, uterine fibroids, infertility, and early hysterectomy (before the age of 40), I was not surprised, as I had already suspected a potential link in the early 2000s.

Now an even more serious health link to hair chemicals has been confirmed. In December 2019, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released an eight-year study of over 46,000 women of all races between the ages of 35 and 74, linking chemical hair relaxers and semi-permanent hair dyes to breast cancer. However, African American women had an astounding 45% increase of breast cancer risk compared to other races, with the relaxers causing more issues.

With this major new health link to breast cancer, in addition to the reproductive issues, we must continue to sound the alarm and share this powerful information. It is especially the early and constant exposure that makes one more likely to suffer hormone disruption. Therefore, it has been my ongoing passion to educate against the use of hair chemicals in girls under 18 years old. In fact, for the production of the 2009 Chris Rock film Good Hair, I specifically gave expert advice about adverse hair issues from using chemical relaxers too early in our girls. However, given the more serious health links, we must be extra cautious. If you are over 18 years old with no hormone health issues, yet you still desire to use hair chemicals, please protect the entire scalp with a petroleum base to reduce absorption, or use natural alternatives.

Please join me in helping to spread this critical health information. For those suffering hair loss, check out the dermatologist developed natural hair supplement BellaNutri. Your hair roots can become revived to grow hair thicker, faster, longer and healthier.

About Melanye

Melanye Maclin, M.D., aka ‘Dr. Mac,’ is a celebrity dermatologist who is passionate about educating the masses on skin and hair via multimedia. She has appeared on several outlets including The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Sirius XM, Radio One, WHUR (Frankski, Weekends with Ed Gordon, Daily Drum), FOX DC News, Chris Rock’s film Good Hair, 50 Cent, Rock Newman TV, Sister 2 Sister, and Hype Hair magazine, for which she is also the Medical Director.

Dr. Mac is the CEO/President and Research Development Dermatologist for Innovative Hair Technology, Inc. which she founded in September 1999. She is a pioneer of hair and skin supplements in the US, and creator of ‘BellaNutri’ for women and ‘BeauNutri’ for men. Additionally, she develops products for other celebrities, doctors and companies. Dr. Mac was also behind the US launch of Viviscal hair products, and L'Oreal Garnier Fructis ‘Triple Nutrition’ hair product brand.

Dr. Mac resides in Maryland with her husband of 20 years, Dr. Gary Carroll. They enjoy being national competitive dance parents to their two teen daughters. Learn more about Dr. Maclin at

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