Are Beauty Products doing more harm than good to Black Women?
According to research studies, Black women purchase and use more cosmetic products (specifically hair products) than any other race of women. Consequently Black women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer (for women under 40 yrs old), fibroids, uterine tumors, obesity, miscarriages and early menarche. In fact, 33% of beauty products used by Black women, which include dyes, straighteners, blow out kits, oils, lotions, perms, relaxers, leave in conditioners, and root stimulators, contain at least one carcinogen, while formaldehyde, bleaching agents, and phthalates can be found in many others.
Many of these beauty products are also hormonally active, which means that using them can increase estrogen levels in the body, which has been shown to increase risk of breast cancer, obesity, and early menarche in children. Since beauty products are not regulated by the FDA, the companies who make them aren't required to list every chemical/ingredient in the product, so there may be no way to tell what's in your cosmetics without testing it.
Perms and relaxers (lye and no lye) have chemicals in them that are linked to hair thinning, scalp burns/irritation, fibroids, and low birth rates. The chemicals in perms and relaxers are so dangerous that they can even affect the person administering them. 70% of hair stylist (with black clientele) will experience work-related dermatitis at some point in their career.
Many, if not all of you reading this may be wondering on or two things: what specific products contain these chemicals and/or what beauty products are safe to use? This article was written to be more informative and to increase awareness when buying different cosmetic products. I will write another article as soon as I find the answers to these questions.
Thank you for reading and feel free to comment and/or share.
Josh Gray BS. CSCS, NASM CES, USATF 1
Owner at Gray's Academy