Can you take your protective gloves off without getting harmful colour on your hands?
You might think it’s easy but a research study from Denmark shows just the opposite*.
We all know that hairdresses are exposed to a variety of hazards in the course of their work. And hair professionals are among the highest sufferers from contact dermatitis and allergy because of wet work and the use of hair colour for long periods. Which is why hairdressers are advised to use gloves as much as possible in their work.
Nicky Churchill runs innovation salon in Swanage on the Dorset coast. She’s totally committed to glove use in the salon:
“I used to have lots of problems with my hands earlier in my career, and my daughter, who works with me, has contact dermatitis.
So we’re very keen on gloves and aprons, and we keep several glove types for our team to use in different situations.”
But when hairdressers use gloves, do they know how to use them correctly? In a special test, the researchers in Denmark found that every one of a group of hairdressers and apprentices ended up with contaminated hands after washing hair with gloves on using a shampoo specially treated with dye.
[* Reported in the journal Contact Dermatitis Vol 72 Issue 6]
After the test, the group were then give brief instructions on how to use and remove gloves correctly. They then did the test again, and the number with contaminated hands after removing their gloves was halved. The researchers concluded that hairdressers need education on the practical aspects of glove use. Especially since many have long nails, and keep jewellery on while wearing gloves.
In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has published a poster showing the correct way to remove gloves.
But Nicky Churchill’s not so sure that she and her team need extra education on how to use gloves: “It’s common sense really. If you’re careful I don’t see how you can end up with colour on your hands after taking off your gloves,” she says.
And nor does she think that you can wear gloves for washing or cutting hair, whatever the health experts advise: “You can’t feel the hair with gloves on, so it’s just not practical to have them on for absolutely every kind of work in the salon.”
What’s your experience of working with gloves?
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The TrichoCare team recommends that all hair professionals always wear gloves when coming into contact with hair products. This includes applying or rinsing shampoo, conditioner, treatments, colour or any other chemicals.
Irritant and allergic reactions to hair products are the commonest causes of occupational disease amongst hair professionals, and the more you expose your hands, the higher the risk. Contact dermatitis is already widespread, and allergy to PPD and MI is on the increase, with potentially very serious consequences.
As hair professionals ourselves we know it takes some getting used to. But your hands are your most precious tools and you need to protect them.
Smooth gloves are essential – nitrile or hypoallergenic latex – so as not to aggravate your skin or pull your client’s hair. Let us know which gloves work best for you, and we’ll share your reviews online.