How well are you caring for your skin?
How well are you caring for your skin?

Water, soap, haircolor ingredients, bleach, perm chemicals, preservatives, fragrances, scissors, hooks, clips. These are the elements of your profession. Unfortunately, this is also a list of culprits that can cause hairdressers to develop eczema and other sensitivities. Hairdressers can develop an allergic reaction after tolerating an allergen for years.

In Denmark, a hot spot for scientific studies of hairdressers’ skin issues, hand eczema accounts for 23 percent of hairdressers who leave the profession for health reasons, second only to muscular-skeletal issues, according to the Research Centre for Hairdressers & Beauticians in Copenhagen. Closer to home, 15 percent of respondents to MODERN SALON’s 2014 Healthy Hairdresser Survey, conducted in cooperation with the City of Hope medical research hospital, were at the time dealing with skin sensitivities, including dermatitis. Hand dermatitis and wet work also can predispose you to developing a yeast infection.

The practice of wearing gloves when doing chemical services has been an industry standard for decades. When latex sensitivities surfaced, non-latex gloves became the go-to solution. Support your in-salon work by wearing similar gloves when you do wet work in your spare time and warm gloves outside in cold weather.

To ensure that your work gloves provide maximum protection, don’t forget:

  • Dry your hands thoroughly before putting on gloves.
  • Get a good fit—neither too tight nor too loose.
  • Never reuse disposable gloves.
  • Try wearing cotton gloves underneath nitrile, vinyl or polyethylene gloves.
  • Remove rings and bracelets.
  • Any gloves can irritate—don’t wear them longer than necessary.
  • Try a gauntlet, extended-cuff style to cover the wrist and prevent splashing into the glove.
  • Do not touch your face or any bare skin with your gloved hands once you’ve immersed them.
  • Rinse gloves before removing them.

Even hairdressers who make it a habit to wear gloves when applying bleach or haircolor can neglect to put on a fresh pair when they later go to rinse the color. That’s a critical mistake, stresses Tom Porter, CEO of Malibu C and author of You’re Not Aging...You’re Just Oxidizing!

“Keep your gloves on while you’re rinsing,” he says. “Otherwise, you’re saturating your hands with chemicals as you rinse the hair.” Porter uses his first name, TOM, as an acronym for Total Oxidation Management. Managing oxidation is key to protecting your skin, he says. “Oxidation is the point when too much oxygen creates a combustion, even at its smallest spark in the body,” Porter says. Oxidation causes the loss of an electron, which leads to the formation of free radicals, and free radicals can lead to skin damage, inflammation and other issues.

Sunburn is just one example of oxidation. Haircolor, of course, is another. Porter says. The Malibu C website, includes a quiz, “How Fast Are You Oxidizing?” He encourages all salon professionals to take it and learn more about oxidation issues. In addition to wearing gloves, Porter advises:

In the salon—Ventilate! “Chemicals such as ammonia released in the salon environment bond with other chemicals to create new, oxidizing compounds,” Porter says. “During the summer, open your doors and windows. Most air conditioners recirculate the air so, at the very least, air out the salon in the morning before you open and in the evening after you close.”

At home—Many communities add chlorine to the water, especially during summertime, just when you’re taking extra showers! “That’s why people itch during the summer,” Porter says. “If you don’t want to drink the chlorine in your tap water, squeeze a lemon into it. There’s enough ascorbic acid in just a few drops of lemon juice to remove the chlorine.”

Outside—Use an SPF15 sunscreen, even on babies and children. “The FDA has made it clear that SPF15 is adequate for most people,” Porter says. “It takes three times more chemicals to increase the SPF from 15 to 30, and those chemicals can cause free radicals. You also can use freshly activated vitamin C as a sunscreen. Vitamin C normalizes free radicals.” Prevention is the first line of defense, but if you’re already experiencing skin issues or are looking for other ways to prevent problems, you can apply products that protect your hands and skin. Parodi Professional Care, which next month will launch a skin care line of products specifically for salon professionals, is planning to build a community of caring within the salon industry to help professionals feel good every day in the salon and spa.

“I firmly believe that every hairdresser deserves to feel great every day, all day long,” says Parodi CEO Linda Gillette Parodi, a trained hairstylist, who knows what long hours, a stressful environment, and exposure to water, chemicals, and heat from thermal tools can do to a working stylist.
According to Parodi, global research shows that four out of fi ve hairdressers experience work-related skin irritations on their hands, their most important and precious professional tools. Being on their feet, servicing clients all day, every day, also takes a toll.

In response, Parodi is offering two formulas of Moisturizing Hand Cream and a Nourishing Foot Cream, and will add a Smoothing Foot Exoliant this fall. Malibu C’s Vitamin C Serum can also help to heal and protect the skin, Porter says. It was formulated when hairdressers reported skin improvement after using the Crystal Gel Treatment in the Malibu Makeover for clients’ hair. “For everything, there’s a cause and effect,” Porter says. “Wellness is about preventing a problem from occurring or following nature’s lead in repairing damage that was done.”



May is Melanoma Awareness Month, which comes with four easy-to-remember instructions: Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap!

For hairdressers, Jeanne Braa Foster might add a fifth direction: gab. “If you see something, say something,” she urges. In 2014, Foster and her husband, Dr. Dean Foster, launched Eyes on Cancer, a nonprofit cancer awareness organization that teaches beauty professionals to identify early-stage skin cancer. The course is free and available online. The Fosters have another rule, too: “Check yourself first!”

Braa Foster became celebrated in the industry as the educator always on platform with Paul Mitchell. After Mitchell’s death, she educated alongside Robert Cromeans. When she left the industry, she and her husband did missionary work and worked on a ministry for cancer patients. It was another salon industry education icon—Winn Claybaugh, who founded the Paul Mitchell school division—who brought the need for skin cancer awareness to Jeanne and Dean Foster’s attention. They’ve approached dermatologists, who are enthusiastic about the idea.



We all can do a little more to keep our skin healthy. Tell us your plan! Take the May Healthy Hairdresser Challenge presented by Malibu C—Pledge to Protect Your Skin—and promise to make at least one change to take better care of your skin. All who complete the pledge will receive a free full-size Malibu C Antioxidant Wellness Skin Care Remedy.

Ideas for your pledge include:

• Wear gloves when delivering every chemical service.
• Wear sunscreen consistently when outside.
• Improve nutrition.
• Drink more water.
• Apply protective hand moisturizer.
• Get scalp care.
• See a dermatologist for a full-body check.a
• Or any idea you have!

Go to and fill out the form to finish the statement, “I pledge to take a wellness approach with Total Oxidation Management for the hair, scalp and skin by making this change: ___.” Get the full benefits of the challenge by taking the “How Fast Are You Oxidizing?”quiz at Challenge sponsor Malibu C will send a free full-size Malibu C Antioxidant Wellness Skin Care Remedy to all salon professionals who take the Challenge starting May 1. The deadline is May 31, 2015.

Each winner will either receive the Transparent-C Antioxidant Wellness Skin Remedy or the Matcha Masque Antioxidant Wellness Skin Remedy (or both).

We always want to hear how you’re doing with your goals! Let us know how your pledge improved your skin care and any other way Healthy Hairdresser is helping encourage personal wellness. Email us at:



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