Health and Livelihoods at Risk for Half of all Hairdressers

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Skin Care for Barbers and Hairdressers

Nearly half of Britain's hairdressers are suffering a debilitating skin disease because safety rules are flouted, it was claimed today.

Around 50,000 hairdressers and barbers are estimated to suffer dermatitis, caused by regular exposure to shampoos, soaps and peroxides. The painful and sometimes irreversible condition - which causes the skin to swell, blister, flake and crack - has forced some hairdressers to seek different jobs.

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The figures were released by the Local Government Association, which is pledging "tough action" against salon bosses who do not enforce safety precautions, such as the wearing of gloves during "wet work".

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, chairman of the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), said: "Hairdressers and other professionals at risk from skin disease have every right to work in a safe and healthy environment.

"Tough action will be taken against employers and businesses who fail to comply with health and safety standards. Dermatitis can be irreversible and because of the widespread nature of the condition, it is often incorrectly regarded as an acceptable occupational hazard. It isn't."

A spokeswoman for the British Skin Foundation, commented: "Education is key as it's important that hairdressers know how to protect themselves, what to look out for and what to do if they develop a skin problem.

"Preventative measures include protective clothing and use of emollient creams. Making sure chemicals are used in accordance with manufacturers' guidelines is also crucial."

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