Health and Safety Hazards within a Hairdressing Salon

Updated April 17, 2017

For a new hairstyle or cut, many utilise the services of a hairdressing salon. These professionals provide a variety of beauty services including chemical hair services. A visit to the salon is not without risk, though. Be aware of the health and safety hazards in hairdressing salons so that you can stay safe on your next visit.


Hairdressing salons offer a range of hair care services. Barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists shampoo, condition and trim hair. They may also dye, highlight and offer chemical hair treatments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these salon workers need licenses. Requirements vary by state, but generally require graduation from a state-sanctioned cosmetology or barber school and passing a state licensing exam. Unlicensed hairdressing salons haven't satisfied the minimum requirements to operate legally.

Hair Treatment Chemicals

Salons may use a variety of hair chemicals that are potentially hazardous. Keratin hair straightening treatments have risen in popularity. According to an article on the CNN website, many of these treatments contain formaldehyde, which can cause irritation to the scalp and respiratory tract. Other hair straighteners include sodium hydroxide and guanidine hydroxide. These chemicals can cause scalp irritation, burns or eye injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hairdressing professionals exposed to these chemicals should don protective gear such as capes and gloves.

Electrical Hazards

Hairdressing salons use several electrical tools and appliances such hair dryers, curling irons, and other heat-styling tools. The equipment needs to be inspected for signs of damage and wear. Frayed electrical cords pose a fire hazard and should be avoided.

Unsanitary styling tools

Salon styling tools are used on numerous clients. It is imperative that they are kept clean and sanitary to prevent the spread of infection.Conditions include fungal infections such as tinea capitus, or ringworm of the scalp, and bacterial infections of the scalp. According to the Salon IQ website, clean tools cut the risk of infection. Cleaning and sanitising tools such as scissors, combs, clippers and heat-styling implements like curling irons keeps them sanitary and working properly.

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About the Author

Teshia Washington began freelance writing in 2009. Her writing has appeared on eHow. She has more than 10 years of experience as an administrative assistant and secretary and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a minor in health from the University of Houston.