Black Women and Fibroids; the Silent Epidemic that’s Screaming in our Community Part 3: The Role of Hair and Skincare Products

By Onleilove

Recently, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology linking hair relaxers to fibroids in Black women was released and made its rounds on the internet, shedding light on the role that common habits can play in our health. Many of you may have read reports about the study but if you have not,  here is a summary of the findings: Scientist followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997-2009 and found that the high rates of fibroids among black women could be connected to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns from hair relaxers(

Hair care has always been a sensitive issue among Black women and now we are seeing that this preoccupation can have very serious consequences. The quest for beauty can be contributing to the high rates of fibroids in Black women because many of our skincare and cosmetic products such as lotion, lipstick, shampoos and more, are made with chemicals that can limit our bodies’ natural production of estrogen because they contain environmental estrogen’s such as Parabens, Placental Extracts, Benzophenones and other UV screens. Furthermore, these environmental estrogens can lead to breast cancer and other illnesses. In addition to the chemical exposure, stress and mental health plays a great role in fibroids. Black women tend to strive for a European beauty standard that we were not created to obtain. This can contribute to our stress levels rising and further compound the exposure we already have to fibroids and other conditions.

So you may be wondering if you need to throw your entire beauty regime out the window. No, you don’t have to. There are many natural beauty alternatives; how you beautify yourself is up to you but you have to take into consideration that the scalp and skin are organs and absorb whatever you put on them in a similar way that you digest food after eating it. Whatever you do, make sure you are informed and safe, when getting perms, make sure you do not have lesions and that the beautician does not leave the product in so long that your scalp is burned. Make sure you do your research and also read the ingredient listing on the back of your beauty products to make sure they do not contain the above mentioned environmental estrogens. You can also do a cleanse  to rid your body of toxins. Whatever you do, take your health into your own  hands. Though certain changes may appear inconvenient or more expensive in the long run, you will be able to accomplish more, live and love longer when you are a good steward of your health.

Holistic Resources

Queen Eshe the Herb Sistah: specializes in helping women heal from fibroids through her: herbal supplements,  annual womb wellness conference, free weekly womb calls, cleanses and more!

Angelic Artistry: SoulAngelBeauty is a collection of natural skin and hair care products made to enhance your inner and outer beauty.

Toms of Maine: produces a wide range of natural products from toothpaste to deodorant and more and can be found in most health food stores and online. This company also gives a great deal to charity.

Carol’s Daughter: favored by many for their high quality hair and skin products this product line is widely available in stores and online.

If you are considering going natural visit: Nappturality, an online resource for Black Natural Hair.

Finally, you don’t need a great deal of money to make better choices. You can also make your own lotions using shea butter or use essential oils instead of fragrances with high chemical content. Have fun experimenting and enjoy the journey. Remember: “Life is for living and LOVE is a Choice!”


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About Onleilove

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Onleilove is currently a Faith Based Community Organizer, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer living in Harlem. After receiving her B.S. in Human Development and African-American Studies from Penn State University she completed a year of service with AmeriCorps. Onleilove recently received her M.Div. and MSW degrees from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. In addition to her organizing work she is a member of Alpha Nu Omega, Inc., a historically Black Christian sorority and the Poverty Initiative. Onleilove has worked for various social justice organizations in NYC, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. such as Sojourners (where she was a Beatitudes Society Fellow), W!SE, United Workers and Healthcare-Now!. Her writing has appeared in Sojourners Magazine, The Black Commentator, Conspire! and other publications. Onleilove is one of five siblings with a large extended family. Possessing compassion for people fueled by her passion for justice she believes that the Gospel is “good news to the poor” and will humbly work to proclaim this message in her community. Onleilove blogs about her journey to holistic health, faithful justice and her addiction to thrifting on Wholeness4Love .

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