Beauty Salon Hazards

Women and men alike have a wide variety of beauty products and beauty therapies available today. Beauty products used for these procedures can be organic or natural herbal care products. These can range from foot care, hair care, skin care to nail care products. There may be a combination of oils, aromatic extracts and botanical substances in these mixtures. Problems may arise with the use of these products or during treatments.

Beauty Salon Dermatoses 
These are dermatoses that appear during or following a visit to a beauty salon. Conditions that arise are often common and frequently diagnosed. These may be trivial or sometimes severe.

Inappropriate judgement – of the client’s skin type or type of product needed.
Lack of care, expertise and hygiene on the part of the handlers.
Overzealous efforts of handlers
Unpredictable – Allergies to straightening or permanent wave occur commonly in hairdressers. PPD in hair dyes may also cause allergic reactions.
Accidental – hot wax burns or bruises may occur following waxing. Cuts and abrasions may occur after threading.
Coincidental/ Freak episode – Steam scald during a facial, hair iron burn and hot water burn while washing hair.

What is commonly seen? 
Commonly seen conditions are as follows:

  • Acne and acne like eruptions
  • Folliculitis (hair follicle infection)
  • Pigmentation following procedures
  • Burns or scalds
  • Allergic rashes, redness and skin sensitivity
  • Viral warts
  • Molluscum contagiosum (viral infection causing pearly white lesions)
  • Milia (whitehead like eruptions)

Facial skin 
One of the common procedures done in a salon is a facial. Here the skin of the client is subjected to cleansing, steaming, massaging, toning and moisturizing in a systematic manner. Side effects like acneiform eruptions, allergies to preservatives, perfumes, solubilizers and other constituents may occur.

Acne treatment with forceful extraction of blackheads and whiteheads may lead to scarring and pigmentation in the form of brown black discoloration. On the other hand professional make-up may cause acne and folliculitis mainly because of sharing and inadequate cleansing of brushes. It may also occur because of stale and outdated makeup.

Latest fads in hair styling like straightening and colouring cause excessive chemical exposure to the hair. Chemically over treated hair should be regularly conditioned and a mild shampoo used. Repeated handling, like daily blow-drying, ironing, should be minimized. Otherwise, the hair may show textural changes with breakage of hair shaft and frizziness.
Hair treatments like perming, waving, massage, steaming and weaving may lead to hair follicle infection and an itchy scalp.
Henna is used as a common hair colourant in India. Allergies to henna itself or various herbal add-ons can occur.

Eyelid and skin around eyes 
False eyelashes and permanent eyeliners may cause local trauma and contact allergies on the areas of application. Eye makeup especially with shimmer and glitter may cause skin irritation and rash.
Viral warts have been seen following threading or waxing. It may occur an spread from as initial lesion elsewhere. Warts may also result from the use of infected threads and strips at the salon.

Hands and feet 
Aggressive manicure and pedicure may cause damage to the cuticle. Buffing is done in parlors to smoothen the surface of the nail plate. Buffing may cause nail plate thinning and ridging. Too frequent procedures may cause brittle nails that break easily. So a manicure should not be repeated more often than 4 weeks and a pedicure earlier than 6 weeks.
Nail fold infection with bacteria and fungi may lead to discoloration and destruction of the nail plate.

Body treatments 
Waxing may cause infection of hair follicles, ingrown hair, and burns and leave behind brown spots due to skin irritation.
Body massage may cause folliculitis or allergies to the oil used.

How to go about to treat it? 
It is important to visit a Dermatologist immediately. The doctor will carefully assess and recognize the nature of the condition.
Excess handling of the skin should be avoided. A change of products maybe suggested.
On the basis of the underlying cause soothing creams and moisturizing agents may help. Medicated creams containing antibiotics, steroids or antifungals maybe needed. In severe cases a course of oral antibiotics, steroids or antifungals maybe given.
Further guidance for procedures and products to be avoided is given.

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