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Common Health Conditions Among Hairdressers and How to Prevent Them

Hairdresser stands in a hairdressing studio

Working as a hairdresser sounds like much fun, especially if this is your calling. The hairstylists are always smiling and happy to help you, but how much do you know about them? A job in a hair salon is far from easy. It’s not glamorous. Moreover, very often, it’s dangerous.

The hours are rough, the clients aren’t always nice, and you’re constantly on your feet. Physical pain and burnout are common and can significantly impact your job. But that’s just the lesser of two evils. Hairdressers are always exposed to chemicals in cosmetics, and this can result in many health issues, including cancer and infertility.

Fortunately, very often, you can do something to prevent severe problems. Better footwear, proper tools, a positive state of mind – these are just a few. Want to learn more about the most common health conditions among hairdressers and ways of preventing them? Read on!


Musculoskeletal Disorders

You’re standing on your feet all day, repeating the same movements all the time: cutting, dyeing, styling. This just couldn’t do any good for your body. Carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive motion injuries can make your arms, shoulders, and neck ache, and taking time off to heal isn’t an option.

If you want to prevent your wrists from aching, change hands regularly and use professional swivel shears – they’re manufactured specifically for your hand to feel less tired.

Constant foot pain is one of the most common, and no hairdresser will avoid it. You’ll feel it after coming home from work, and you’ll see it after years of standing up – your legs won’t look as fabulous as you’d want them. But can you do something about it?

Footwear could save you a lot of trouble: don’t wear heels, and always choose something comfortable. And if you have any impact on the type of flooring in the place you work, make sure it has some spring-like wood or padded mats put above a concrete foundation.

Exercises also help significantly. Try leg and hand stretches, move around when possible, and work out regularly – your body will thank you.


Contact Dermatitis and Allergies

Hairstylists are exposed to various chemicals in beauty products every day, and it’s not as safe as it may seem. When you work with shampoo and other cosmetics during so-called “wet work,” your hands are always moist. This reduces your skin’s natural barrier and allows greater absorption of the chemicals.

Because of this, many hairdressers will suffer from contact dermatitis or allergies. And in severe cases, it means the end of your career.

Unfortunately, you can’t do a lot about these issues. Nevertheless, you can most often prevent them by using gloves and choosing as safe products as possible.


Breathing Issues

Respiratory complications are also very common among hairdressers because of the chemicals – ammonia is the main problem. It can be found in hair colors and formaldehyde that you use for creatine treatment.

Ammonia is toxic, and long-term exposure to it can cause respiratory problems (such as bronchitis), high blood pressure, skin and internal organs damage, and depression. The best solution will be to regularly ventilate the room and use safer hair products, such as oil-based dyes. Even though such cosmetics are rarer and more expensive, they’re better both for you and your client.


Cancer and Infertility

Hair salon chemicals are also a reason for increased cancer, infertility, and miscarriage rates among hairdressers. How come?

The chemicals found in various hair cosmetics used in the salons are suspected to adhere to the HPG axis – a system in the body that secretes hormones involved in reproduction. Any interruption in this delicate process can pose significant issues if you want to conceive. Moreover, it can be a cause for menstrual disorders and higher rates of miscarriages.

There’s also a direct link between long-term chemical exposure among hairstylists and breast and bladder cancer. Both may have a connection to aromatic amines – derivatives of ammonia. While they’re necessary for the hair dyeing process, you can lower the risks by choosing safer ammonia-free hair colors.

Young sporty woman writing workout plan in notebook after a workout

Working as a hairdresser seems very enjoyable. But while it is possible to show your creativity and help people look better, it has significant drawbacks. And working with people is not one of them – after all, you’re gaining stronger communication skills every time you meet an unpleasant client. Health issues, on the other hand, is the thing that can easily make you leave the profession.

Repetitive strain injury, allergies, breathing problems, increased cancer and infertility rates – all those are the consequences of constantly standing up, performing repetitive movements all day long, and working with chemicals. Fortunately, you can always do something to prevent possible issues.

Lead a healthy lifestyle: move more, stretch during the day, work out, drink more water and eat healthily. Ventilate the room regularly, so there’s less exposure to the chemicals. And choose safer products, like ammonia-free hair dyes. All of those will allow you to stay safe, healthy, and enjoy your job.




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