CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION REVIEW Occupational skin disease in hairdressers


  • Adriene Lee, MB, BS. Rosemary Nixon, FACD.

  • Manuscripts for this section should be submitted to Dr W Weightman.

Dr Rosemary Nixon, 206 Albert Street, East Melbourne, Vic. 3002, Australia. Email:


Hairdressers belong to an occupational group that is commonly affected by occupational skin disease, specifically contact dermatitis, which may be allergic or irritant and, less commonly, contact urticaria. Occupational contact dermatitis predominantly affects apprentices, and atopy is a recognized risk factor associated with a poor prognosis. Repetitive wet work leading to irritant contact dermatitis, followed by exposure to allergens and the development of allergic contact dermatitis, are the main factors contributing to occupational contact dermatitis. Once developed, it is often difficult to manage and is a cause of significant morbidity. Early education, training and prevention is the best approach to the management of this disorder that is endemic among hairdressers.