Frequent and moderate users of beauty products and frequent users of skincare products appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer

In February 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess the association between the use of personal care products and breast cancer. The personal care products were divided into three categories. Nine were included in a beauty category (mascara, lipstick, foundation, nail polish, perfume, eye shadow, eyeliner, blush, and makeup remover), 6 in a hair category (pomade, hair straightener, conditioner, hair spray, hair gel, and shampoo), and 9 in a skin care category (cleansing cream, anti-aging cream, body lotion, hand lotion, face cream, foot cream, petroleum jelly, talcum powder applied under arms, and talcum powder applied elsewhere). A total of 4,452 non-Hispanic black and 42,453 white women were assessed to identify individuals with similar usage patterns in the three categories. During the follow-up period (average 5.5 years), 2,326 women developed breast cancer.  Out of these cases, only 165 diagnoses were identified in non-Hispanic black women. Unfortunately, not all these cases contained the data required for analysis, but those cases that were analysed showed no evidence of an association between personal care products and breast cancer. Among white women, those classified as “moderate” and “frequent” users of beauty products had an increased risk of breast cancer when compared to “infrequent” users. Frequent users of skincare products also had an increased risk of breast cancer when compared to infrequent users. No association was seen between use of hair products and an increased risk of breast cancer. It was also noted that the associations between beauty and skin products and breast cancer risk were stronger in post-menopausal women than in pre-menopausal women, but not significantly so.

Taylor KW et al. Associations between Personal Care Product Use Patterns and Breast Cancer Risk among White and Black Women in the Sister Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2018 Feb 21;126(2):027011

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