The field of cosmetology includes hair stylists, barbers, nail technicians and similar professionals that help other people to look their best. You may think that cosmetology does not seem like a dangerous profession. Nevertheless, any career path, including cosmetology, has some inherent risks.
Learning what health risks you face as a cosmetologist may help you to avoid them. Chron.com describes some of the most common hazards.
1. Burns or cuts
Mishandling the tools of your trade can lead to injury. Curling wands, straightening irons and hairdryers can all reach high temperatures. Coming into contact with the heating elements can cause burns.
Shears, clippers, scissors and razors all have sharp edges on which you can cut yourself if you do not handle them correctly. Touching clients’ skin or hair or handling the phone or computer without treating the cut can expose you to pathogens and lead to an infection.
Bleaching agents, coloring solutions, straightening creams and permanent wave solutions all contain chemical solvents that can be hazardous when inhaled. You may be at higher risk than clients because you breathe in the fumes all the time. Some chemicals can also burn if you accidentally splash them in your eyes.
3. Repetitive strain injuries
Cutting and styling hair, shaping and polishing nails, all involve performing the same types of movements over and over. This puts stress on your upper extremities and can result in repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists or tendonitis in your fingers. Improving your ergonomics and scheduling regular breaks to rest your hands may help prevent these injuries.
4. Slip-and-fall injuries
Spilled water or hair products can cause the floor of a hair salon or barbershop to become slippery. Hair clippings can also cause you to lose your footing if you walk on them.
To prevent slip-and-fall injuries at work, sweep up and dispose of hair clippings and clean up any spills as soon as possible. You may also be able to increase traction by wearing rubber-soled shoes.