A quantification of occupational skin exposures and the use of protective gloves among hairdressers in Denmark

Authors

  • Susan Hovmand Lysdal,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dermato-Allergology, Research Centre for Hairdressers and Beauticians, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, DK-2900 Hellerup, Denmark
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  • Jeanne Duus Johansen,

    1. Department of Dermato-Allergology, National Allergy Research Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, DK-2900 Hellerup, Denmark
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  • Mari-Ann Flyvholm,

    1. National Research Centre for the Working Environment, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Heidi Søsted

    1. Department of Dermato-Allergology, Research Centre for Hairdressers and Beauticians, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, DK-2900 Hellerup, Denmark
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  • The authors have declared no conflicts. Funding: Funding received from the Danish Hairdressers' and Beauticians' Union, the Danish Hairdresser Association, the Danish Working Environment Research Fund, and the Aage Bangs Foundation.

Susan Hovmand Lysdal, Department of Dermato-Allergology, Research Centre for Hairdressers and Beauticians, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Niels Andersens Vej 65, DK-2900 Hellerup, Denmark. Tel: +45 3977 7308; Fax: +45 3977 7118. E-mail: sushov04@geh.regionh.dk

Abstract

Background. Occupational hand eczema is common in hairdressers, owing to excessive exposure to wet work and hairdressing chemicals.

Objectives. To quantify occupational skin exposure and the use of protective gloves among hairdressers in Denmark.

Methods. A register-based study was conducted comprising all graduates from hairdressing vocational schools from 1985 to 2007 (n = 7840). The participants received a self-administered postal questionnaire in May 2009, including questions on hairdressing tasks performed in the past week at work and the extent of glove use. A response rate of 67.9% (n = 5324) was obtained.

Results. Of the respondents, 55.7% still worked as hairdressers, and they formed the basis of this study. Daily wet work was excessive; 86.6% had wet hands for ≥2 hr, and 54% for ≥ 4 hr. Glove use was fairly frequent for full head hair colouring and bleaching procedures (93–97.7%), but less frequent for highlighting/lowlighting procedures (49.7–60.5%) and permanent waving (28.3%). Gloves were rarely worn during hair washing (10%), although this was more frequently the case after hair colouring procedures (48.9%).

Conclusions. Occupational skin exposure was excessive among hairdressers; the extent of wet work and chemical treatments was high, and glove use was inconsistent, especially for certain hair colouring procedures and wet work tasks.

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