Though the hair and beauty industry is widely regarded as a glamorous occupation, there are still real hazards for those who choose a career in cosmetology. In fact, exposure to certain chemicals can increase the risk of serious health conditions.

This is not only relevant to your own health, but if you employ staff, you have a duty of care to create a safe working environment which protects employees from injury or illness.  

Failure to take the relevant and appropriate safety measures can result in Employer’s Liability claims under your Beauty Insurance or Hairdressing Insurance policy.

What Are The Most Common Chemical Threats?

While products are evolving all the time, some of the most potentially dangerous products include:

  • Hair dyes
  • Bleaches
  • Permanent wave solutions
  • Shampoos
  • Hairstyling agents
  • Nail and skincare products
  • Straightening products
  • Brow and lash tints
  • Chemical peels
  • Peroxides
  • Wax solvents
  • Disinfectants in cleaning products

What Are Some of The Most Common Issues?

Unprotected exposure to these and other harmful chemicals can cause many reactions and symptoms, including:


This general term refers to inflammation of the skin; however, it can signify either an irritant reaction to chemicals or a more serious allergic reaction.


Chemicals common in hairdressing and nail services may aggravate pre-existing asthmatic conditions or even cause occupational asthma.


Though there is limited data to support this claim, some products used in the cosmetology industry are suspected of causing cancer.

How Are The Reactions Caused?

Hazardous chemicals can enter the body in several ways, either through the skin, via inhalation or by swallowing.

Generally, eye and throat irritation will begin immediately upon exposure, sometimes followed by other potentially dangerous reactions.

Not everyone will develop an adverse reaction to cosmetology products. The following factors affect how you will react:

  • Toxicity of the substance
  • Amount of the substance that you are exposed to
  • Length of exposure
  • Frequency of exposure
  • Route of entry into the body

Risk Management – Assess Your Risks

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) provide information on what to do if you or a co-worker is exposed to the chemical and has a bad reaction.

Do not take any chances on your health. Read and understand SDS, and ask your supplier for clarification if you do not understand the directions.

Also, always wear protective clothing, such as gloves and aprons, and wash your hands thoroughly before eating, drinking or smoking after handling hazardous chemicals.

Don’t Forget The Labels

You may find that you need to transfer a chemical substance from the original manufacturers packaging into a smaller or different container.

When you make any transfer, use the appropriate care as well as labelling the new vessel clearly so that others are fully aware of the contents.

Similar Posts