Visitor Question

Hair dye and cancer connection?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Freeport, New York)

My sister, who is 61 years old, has been getting her hair dyed black for the past 14 years. This past week she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer – stage 2 (may be further than this stage). She lives in a home that is part of the AHRC (Association for Habilitation and Residential Care) — my sister has lived there for 30 years and the staff member has been taking her monthly to get her hair dyed black.

My sister is mildly brain damaged, but has never had any health issues prior to this cancer diagnosis. I have read that chemicals in hair dyes may cause cancer. If the salon used chemicals that have carcinogens in them, could they be held liable in a lawsuit? And the manufacturer of the dye be held liable as well?

Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology:

“…women who dyed their hair starting before 1980 were one-third more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or NHL, and those who used the darkest dyes for more than 25 years were twice as likely to develop the cancer. Women who used darker permanent hair coloring products for more than 25 years showed the highest increased risk,”

The Mayo Clinic tells us:

“…your skin only absorbs a limited amount of hair dye and other hair grooming and styling products. However, if your skin is infected or irritated, or if there is a break in your skin, you may absorb more of the chemicals in hair dye than usual. Still, research on the use of hair dye during pregnancy is limited.”

At this point there doesn’t appear to be conclusive studies linking the use of hair dye to Ovarian Cancer. However, if you are convinced the hair dye used by your sister for so long was the direct, or contributing cause if her Cancer, seek the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area.

Additionally, you can monitor class actions which may have been, or will be filed against the manufacturer of the hair dyes used by your sister. To do so go to sites like and others like them.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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