A Visit to the Salon Could Damage Your Health, Can It?

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Big business today!

The popularity of beauty salons and spas has grown incredibly over the past several years. There is quite a variety to choose from, including hair salons, some of which also offer manicures, pedicures, applying artificial nails, and specialist hair-colouring.

There are nail bars which concentrate solely on keeping your nails beautiful, and are adept in adding artificial nails on which you can even choose to have the flag of your country emblazoned – among other designs of course!

Clinics offering dermal services such as Botox and filler injections are very much in the fore, as are spa’s offering an entire range of beauty treatments from Indian Head Massage to laser hair removal. Visits to a salon is indeed popular in all levels of society, but if you are not careful, you may end up getting much more than you bargained for.


Risks you may incur when you visit a salon

In a recent survey of nail and hair salon clients, more than 2/3rds of those interviewed admitted that they had one or more health issues after a visit to a salon. These include skin problems, fungal infections, and respiratory problems.

The percentage of the reported problems indicated that problems were higher at nail bars than hair salons.

The studies noted that when it comes to safety, always be aware of dangers which may be present in salons frequented by the public at large.


Here is a list of some possible salon-related risks

Nail Bars

  • Many of the nail bar services include the use of chemicals which could be dangerous for the client. The chemicals can cause allergic reactions and skin irritations.
  • Some clients who frequently visit nail bars reported more fungal and dermal problems than those who only occasionally visit salons.
  • The vapour from chemicals used in the application of artificial nails have been known to cause respiratory problems in some clients.
  • Most of the tools in the nail bars are re-used, and if they are not properly sterilized, may put clients at risk for contacting dermatitis, expose them to fungi, and even viruses such as hepatitis B and C.
  • Diabetics could be particularly at risk when have pedicures as the cuticles are usually cut, and if an injury occurs, need to be treated immediately with an antibiotic or antiseptic ointment. Cuts and bruising take inordinately long to heal for diabetics.

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Hair Salons

Some hair products contain chemical ingredients such as formaldehyde, ammonia, peroxide, sodium sulphate, and coal tar. They also contain chemical preservatives known as parabens, which are commonly used in cosmetic products. Research has shown that many of these hair products contain carcinogens which increases the risk of cancer.

  • Sodium sulphates are ingredients in hair shampoo and conditioners. Sulphates can potentially strip your hair of natural oils, irritate the scalp, and may even cause hair loss.
  • Studies have shown that parabens, the main preservative used in cosmetic products, may mimic the activity of estrogen in the body, increasing the risk of breast cancer in particular, which is highly sensitive to estrogen. Some studies have even established the presence of parabens in breast tumours.
  • Women who used darker shades of hair dye appear to have a higher risk of estrogen- linked breast cancer.
  • Women of African-American descent who used hair-straighteners or relaxers, as well as dark-coloured hair dyes, seemed to have an even higher risk of breast cancer.


How you can protect yourself from salon-related dangers

Beauty salons are by no means death-traps, but there some easy ways you can ensure that you do not pick up more than just the cost for your treatment.

Here are ways to help prevent you from putting yourself at risk.

  • Make sure that if you go in person to book an appointment that the salon looks clean, and is properly licensed. A licence certificate should be on display in a prominent place in the salon.
  • If a salon re-uses tools and equipment that have been used on other clients, ask about their sanitizing and sterilizing procedures. Just washing in a disinfecting solution may not be good enough to prevent infections.
  • Check that there is sufficient ventilation to draw and dissipate vapour from chemicals, especially those emanating from nail treatments which may be in the air.
  • Try and establish which chemicals are involved in hair treatment preparations. Ask for organic, or paraben and sulphate-free products. They are available.

These are just simple ways to lower your risk of any unpleasant symptoms. But always bear in mind that if you do get any symptoms like allergies, skin irritations, or respiratory trouble, visit your doctor for advice.

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Not only clients face salon hazards

Recent research on the daily hazards faced by the employees and technicians of beauty salons and came up with some surprising results. Most of those who participated in the surveys reported work-related histories of eye, nose, skin, and throat symptoms.

Very few workers reported that they regularly used personal protective equipment while performing their duties.

Although these employees received adequate training to do their jobs, unfortunately the medium of instruction was English, which is not always the mother tongue. Concerns were raised about how much the trainees actually understood the information being presented.


Improvements are needed

The School of Public Health which monitors the training and careers of cosmetology, which includes hair styling, barbering, nail care, and skin care, has recommended that technicians in beauty salons be made fully aware of the dangers they work with every day.

  • Employers are required to ensure that workers use eye protection equipment and gloves appropriate to the chemicals being used.
  • If necessary technicians must also use respiratory protection masks
  • All employees must always use safe work practices to avoid normal and accidental exposure to harmful substances.

Salon owners should have a suitable ventilation systems with a fan powerful enough to move contaminated air out through the system – installed and maintained by a professional company.


READ ALSO: Dangerous Chemicals Lurking In Your Cosmetics Infographic



Being aware of potential hazards in beauty salons is not designed to scare anyone off. Visiting a beauty salon is meant to be a pleasant experience. Knowing that your visit is safe in all respects, can help to make your experience at the salon even more enriching.