wearing our natural hair in white-dominated workplaces, Dede Teteh, a behavioral scientist and assistant professor of public health at Chapman University notes. The unfortunate news, though, is that many of the products that are marketed toward us contain parabens and phthalates, according to Nielsen data.
Researchers at the City of Hope recently found that parabens uniquely increase the growth of breast cancer cells in Black women compared to white women.
This news is alarming because Black women under 45 are already more likely to get breast cancer compared to white women and die from the disease. In fact, as of 2019, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality among Black women.
This is why the work that Teteh, Tomlin-Harris and the Bench to Community team of eight researchers and community advisors is so important.
The team shares up-to-date research with the Southern California community in the form of salon conversations and symposiums, including an upcoming one in September. Over the past few years, Bench to Community has lobbied in support of a suite of four federal bills that would ban beauty companies from using parabens and phthalates.
Teteh has one final message for women tired of fighting racial discrimination and having to make lifestyle changes:
“If the message that I can get across to other Black women that are reading this article, it would simply just be: ‘I get it. I know you’re tired,'” Teteh told Insider. “It’s sh***y that we have to live in a society that does not protect us. But at the same time, if we continue to show up as ourselves and we are comfortable in our skin, I think that’s good enough.”
In the meantime, when picking beauty products, remember to take a close look at the ingredients. If they contain parabens and phthalates, it is best to steer clear of them no matter what wonders they may do for your hair, skin, nails, etc. Although smelling good is the goal, it is also wise to choose fragrance-free products because many fragrance chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption, and other chronic health problems.
For more information on which products contain harmful ingredients, click here.