Cancer & Hair Dyes

Is there a link between cancer and hair dyes ? How worried should you be?

Concerns are growing about the possible link between cancer and hair dyes, and frequent hair dye use is being linked to increased breast cancer risk. Scientists still maintain, however, that there is no definite cause and effect between cancer and hair dyes. Worryingly,however, chemical hair dyes also increasingly carry a risk of death from allergic reactions. For an insight into chemical hair dye: deaths.

An investigation of 1,500 people with bladder cancer in California found women who used permanent hair dyes once a month were twice as likely to get the disease. Some hairdressers were 50 per cent more likely to have bladder cancer :

• Dangers of cancer and hair dyes :  Hair dye risks 

Alert for Women on Cancer and Hair Dyes


Renaissance Henna Hair Dye Products

We remain concerned about the potential link between cancer and hair dyes. All of our products are 100% herbal. No chemicals or metallic salts are added.

If you have an illness, please ensure you take time to consult your doctor before you use pure henna and indigo in order to allay any concerns and to prevent risks.

If your doctor has never heard of henna and indigo, ask UK Cancer Research (or the equivalent body in your country) for their guidance and how they evaluate the safety of henna and indigo, and feel free to refer them to our website.

Henna Research

Anticarcinogenic Properties and Antioxidant Activity of Henna (Lawsonia inermis)  : “Antioxidant activity in henna was found to be the highest as compared to vitamin E or tocopherol. The strong cytotoxic properties of this extract could be due to its high antioxidant activities.”

* Henna is also known for its ability to protect against UVA & UVB.

Indigo Research :

Thorne Research on indigo :


Indirubin, extracted from botanicals, including Indigofera tinctoria and Isatis tinctoria, is the active ingredient of the traditional Chinese medicine formula Dang gui Long hui Wan, which is used for CML.23-26 ( CML = Chronic myelogenous leukemia ).”

If you want to conduct your own safety assessment via independent research  which you can then discuss with your doctor, we suggest key words for your research should include : toxicity indigofera tinctoria cancer / leukaemia, and : toxicity lawsonia inermis cancer / leukaemia.

Conflicting Theories on The Use of Anti Oxidants for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy

Henna and indigo are both HIGHLY antioxidant and anti microbial. Fantastic if you want to avoid cancer, or any disease, and fantastic if you’ve finished chemotherapy treatment. But there seem to be conflicting theories on the use of anti oxidants for cancer patients who are actively undergoing chemotherapy – see links below. One body of opinion suggests that anti oxidants help to minimise the side effects of chemotherapy, another body of opinion suggests that anti oxidants undermine chemotherapy altogether.

Antioxidant, Anti Cancer Henna :

Antioxidant Indigo :

Anti Cancer Cassia Obovata :

Anti Cancer Rhubarb Root:


Cancer & Hair Dyes, Cancer & Henna – is henna a safe hair colour to use if you have cancer ? Read on…. except for GP6 Enzyme Deficiency anything’s safer than a chemical hair dye !

In The Breast Cancer Prevention Program, Samuel Epstein & David Steinman, state at page  225 [1997 edition] : “A few years ago, women using hair dyes breathed a sigh of relief when the American Cancer Society ( ACS) and the FDA announced the results of a study claiming almost “no connection between hair dyes and fatal cancers.” That statement and the study itself are both misleading in the extreme.” The authors explain how hair dyes work and present their well researched evidence of the risks.

Here’s what they say on page 226 :

“How Dyes Work

Three types of dyes are currently in use : permanent, semipermanent, and temporary. About 75% of women use permanent dyes, 20 percent semi-permanent, and 5 per cent temporary color. Temporary hair dyes and rinses contain lead and other heavy metals and dyes that coat but do not penetrate hair. They not only contain fewer toxic chemicals than permanent dyes, they also are not absorbed by the body, which makes them far less likely to pose serious health risks.

Permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes, on the other hand, are known as “precursors” or “couplers”. During application of permanent coloring products, a key chemical reaction, called oxidation, occurs between “precursors” and another key ingredient, hydrogen peroxide. This reaction leads to the formulation of highly reactive compounds ( benzoquinonemimines) that penetrate hair fibres. The “precursor” dyes react with the reactive compounds to form the desired colour shades. The hydrogen peroxide also decolorizes melanin, the substance that naturally colors the hair, allowing the new color to take hold. Semipermanent colorants work in a similar way, but without the hydrogen peroxide process.

Both animal and human studies show that the body rapidly absorbs chemicals in permanent and semipermanent dyes through the skin during the more than thirty minutes the dyes remain on the scalp. Additionally, the detergents and solvents used to wash and rinse the hair further increase skin absorption.

Evidence of Risks

Permanent and semipermanent colors contain a wide range of carcinogenic ingrenedints including diaminotoluene, diaminoanisole, and other phelylenediamine dyes; artificial colors; dioxane, a contaminant in detergents and solvents; nitrosamines formed by the interaction of ethanolamine detergents with nitrite preservatives or contaminants; and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Temporary dyes and rinses contain carcinogenic metals and petrochemcials, particularly formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and nitrosamine precursors.

In short, permanent and semipermanent hair dyes are a witches’ brew of carcinogens. The potential risks of breast and other cancers posed by these toxic products are well documented – as are also the efforts by the cosmetic industry to ignore and obfuscate the facts while continuing to manufacture and market the dyes.”

The authors refer to hair dyes as“avoidable risk” and henna is cited as a natural alternative : “a natural substance derived from plants which was used by women in ancient Egypt”.

Henna Crowns for Cancer

Henna ’hairdo’ helps out a cancer patient, extract from Saratoga News, Letters & Opinions “Speak Out” issue July 6, 2005, Saratoga, California :

I no longer feel as though I am being dismembered, rather that I am remembering a life filled with riches, a golden time. I will continue to get a henna tattoo once a month (different each time, like a new hairdo) until my hair starts growing back. I eagerly propose henna therapy to others who are undergoing chemotherapy and send this message: You, too, are a unique person. Embrace it! I wish you joy.”

Cancer Patients Given the Royal Treatment with Henna Crowns

Cancer and Hair Dyes
Article Name
Cancer and Hair Dyes
Henna and indigo are both HIGHLY antioxidant and anti microbial. Fantastic if you want to avoid cancer, or any disease, and fantastic if you've finished chemotherapy treatment. But there seem to be conflicting theories on the use of anti oxidants for cancer patients who are actively undergoing chemotherapy - see links below.
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Renaissance Henna
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