Hairdressers are at “excess risk” of contact allergy

Compared with the general population, hairdressers are at high risk of contact allergy associated with hair care products, a systematic review says.

“Studies have shown that up to 70% of hairdressers suffer from work-related skin damage, mainly hand dermatitis, at some point in their career,” wrote Wolfgang Uter of the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and co-authors. In general, they write, occupational skin diseases such as dermatitis of the hands account for up to 35% of reported occupational diseases. The study was published online on October 17 Contact Dermatitis.

Wet work and skin contact with detergents and hair styling products are the main risk factors for the development of occupational skin diseases in this group, according to the researchers.

To further understand the burden of contact allergy in hair salon work, researchers compiled evidence published since 2000 on contact allergy to hair care products. They searched the literature for nine topics that were pre-selected by experts and stakeholders. The researchers also investigated the prevalence of sensitization among hairdressers and other individuals receiving skin patch testing.

Content for content

Common potentially sensitizing cosmetic ingredients reported in studies were p-phenylenediamine (PPD), persulfate (primarily ammonium persulfate) [APS]), glyceryl thioglycolate (GMTG) and ammonium thioglycolate (ATG).

In a pooled analysis, the overall prevalence of contact allergy to PPD was 4.3% in consecutively tested patients, while among hair salons specifically, the overall prevalence of contact allergy to this ingredient was 28.6%, the reviewers said.

The combined prevalence of contact allergy to APS was 5.5% in consumers and 17.2% in hairdressers. In other retrospective studies, the risk of contact allergy to APS, GMTG and ATG was also increased in hairdressers compared to all controls.

The calculated relative risk (RR) for contact sensitization to PPD was approximately 5.4 higher in hairdressers, while the RR for ATG sensitization was 3.4 in hairdressers compared to consumers.

Commenting on these findings, James A. Yiannias, MD, professor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Phoenix, said. Medscape Medical News in an email that many providers and patients are concerned only with hair color molecules such as PPD and aminophenol, as well as permanent, wave and straightening agents such as GMTG.

“Although these are common allergens in hairdressing salons, allergens such as fragrances and some preservatives found in everyday hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners and hair sprays are also common causes of contact dermatitis,” said Yiannias, who was not involved in the study. .

Consequences of exposure

Yiannias explained that progressive worsening of the dermatitis can occur with continued exposure to allergens and, if not properly mitigated, can lead to larger problems. “The initial discomfort of mild irritation and high pressure can progress to a ruptured condition with a risk of bleeding and significant pain,” he said.

But when severe and untreated dermatitis occurs, Yiannias said hairdressers “may have to change careers” or at least face short- or long-term unemployment.

The researchers suggest that reducing exposure to the allergen is key to preventing symptoms, adding that adequate guidance on the safe use of new products is needed. The researchers also suggested that vocational schools should implement more rigorous education for hairdressers that covers how to properly protect the skin at work.

Hairdressers are taught during training to be careful with exposure to allergens by avoiding touching dangerous substances such as hair dyes,” Yiannias added. “In practice, however, this is very difficult as the use of gloves can reduce the tactile sensation that hairdressers often find necessary to do their job.”

The research did not receive any industrial funding. Yiannias declares no relevant financial relationships.

Contact Dermatitis. Published online 17 October 2022. Full text

Brandon May is a freelance medical journalist who has written more than 2100 articles for US and UK medical publications. Twitter: @brandonmilesmay

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *