The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work. The Big Idea Frequent and long-term use of lye-based hair straightening products, or relaxers, may increase the risk of breast cancer among Black women, compared with more moderate use. Boston University’s Black Women’s Health Study followed 59,000 self-identified African American women for over 25 years, sending questionnaires every two years on new diagnoses and factors that might influence their health. Using these data in our own study, my team of epidemiologists and I found that Black women who used hair products containing lye at least seven times a year…

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