Helping clients look their best may come at a price for salon workers because they are often exposed to hazardous chemicals. Hair and nail salon workers handle potentially toxic chemicals on a daily basis, and they need to know how to protect themselves. Employees must be aware of the risks and don the right personal protective equipment based on the chemicals they handle. Here are some common salon chemicals and barrier protection for each:
A common ingredient in both nail polish remover and hairspray, acetone may cause skin irritation. In some cases, there may not be sufficient alternatives to allow salon workers to completely avoid exposure to this chemical. However, latex gloves offer superior barrier protection so employees minimize skin exposure. Vinyl is not resistant to acetone, so latex is the best choice for handling acetone. However, depending on the length of exposure to chemicals, nitrile may be a better choice to avoid exposure to latex.
Formaldehyde, which is often found in nail polish and nail hardeners, is one of the riskiest chemicals for salon workers to handle because it may cause cancer after long-term exposure. From short-term exposure, formaldehyde causes skin irritation and dermatitis. Even low concentrations of formaldehyde may lead to negative side effects. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommended respirators for handling formaldehyde. Many salons are well-ventilated, but N95-rated masks filter out dust and germs. Gloves should also be used to protect the skin. Latex, vinyl and nitrile gloves offer protection from this chemical for concentrations up to 99 percent.
Often used in hair extension glue and lace wig glue, trichloroethylene may cause eye and skin irritation, as well as nausea and disorientation. Long-term exposure may lead to dermatitis and liver and kidney damage. Nitrile gloves provide protection against this chemical. In addition, vinyl gloves may be used for a limited time to guard against trichloroethylene exposure.
Dibutyl phthalate is found in nail polish and may cause skin irritation. Within the selection of glove materials, nitrile gloves protect workers from dibutyl phthalate whereas latex gloves may be used for a limited time to protect from this chemical.
Used in many different industries and common in a number of beauty products, including nail polish, nail glue, hair dye and hairpiece bonding, toulene is one of the most toxic chemicals in salons. It has been linked to skin rashes, nausea, eye irritation and headaches. If workers are exposed to this chemical for an extended length of time, it may lead to birth defects or the loss of a pregnancy. Because this chemical is so toxic, vinyl gloves may be used, but for only a limited time.
Because concentrations may vary, it is important to check the safety data sheet issued by the manufacturer and conduct in-house testing to determine the safe exposure time. Gloves should always be replaced if they are torn or compromised in any way. Although nitrile gloves offer barrier protection against many common salon chemicals, it is crucial to understand the recommendations for each solution. Concentrations may vary by manufacturer, and salons need to ensure they select the right gloves for the application. In addition to chemicals, salon workers need gloves to protect them from customers’ nails, blood or skin.
To learn more about what glove is best for the chemicals you may be using contact an AMMEX representative today or contact us on our website to get started on becoming a distributor. If you are already a distributor, speak with your salesperson to discover more about what AMMEX can offer for you.