October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and here in Ireland around 3000 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer every year. It is the second most common form of cancer among women – after skin cancer. And despite advances in research and technology, it is reported that an estimated 700 women die from the disease every year. A 2019 study carried out by the National Institute of Health found that women who use permanent hair colour are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. So, what is the reason for this?
Most brands of hair colour, and other cosmetic products, contain chemicals known as parabens. The most common parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben and they are used as preservatives within products that many of us use on a day-to-day basis (basically, they stop bacteria and fungus from growing on your favourite beauty products). These parabens can penetrate the skin and act like a very weak oestrogen in the body – potentially turning on the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers.
Parabens are not the only harmful chemicals that can be found in certain hair colours. Non-organic hair colours also contain lots of other chemicals such as PPD (p-Phenylenediamine). This is an ingredient that is derived from ammonia and is commonly found in hair colours. The most common and most serious health risk of PPD is allergic reactions. With similar properties to ammonia, it is an irritant to the skin, eyes and respiratory system and can cause asthma and breathing difficulties.
When it comes to hair colours and the products that we are using on our hair, does using organic products make a difference? The answer is most definitely yes. The main reason for choosing to colour your hair with organic products is to avoid using dangerous and harsh chemicals on your body. Naturigin is a brand that has considered the serious health effects that these chemicals have on our bodies. From a personal experience CEO and co-founder Mette Lykkegaard saw the importance and cutting out the use of harsh chemicals, and in turn created the Naturigin brand. Mette Lykkegaard was 28 years old, studying law and living a healthy lifestyle when doctors discovered a lump on her breast during a routine check-up. As she did not drink, smoke or have any history of breast cancer in her family the diagnosis came as a huge shock to her and she decided to do her own investigating into the matter.
What became clear to Mette was that constant exposure to harmful chemicals is connected to a higher risk of being infected with numerous diseases, which she notes can lead to anything from harsh allergies and asthma to even cancer. Having discovered this, Mette drastically changed her lifestyle for the better and said goodbye to toxic, chemical-filled products. In turn, what she noticed was that the market for natural and organic hair and skin products were almost non-existent and from this came the birth of Naturigin.
At Simply Natural, we also saw a gap in the Irish market when it came to beauty products that were organic and free from harsh chemicals and decided to fill it. All of us here believe it is so important to be aware of what chemicals certain products contain – and to be aware of what we are using on our hair and our bodies. The brands that we stock are all organic – and this is hugely important to us and our ethos. There are so many benefits to buying organic products – not only are you reducing the exposure your body has to harsh chemicals, but the brands that we supply such as Natulique, Naturigin and Malibu C are vegan and of course not tested on animals. From our experience, organic products like our hair colours, are just as good – if not better than non-organic brands, and they don’t have that overbearing chemical smell, which will always a plus!
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, here at Simply Natural we think it is a good time to highlight the importance of looking after our bodies (and our breasts) – from having a feel once a month to being aware of the chemicals that may be in beauty products and the effects these can have on our bodies.