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Hairdressing: Marie's story

Case study: Marie

Sector : Hairdressing

Condition: Irritant contact dermatitis

Marie has worked in hairdressing for over 13 years, starting her career as a ‘Saturday girl’. She first noticed problems with her skin at an early stage as she spent every Saturday shampooing, washing off colours, neutralising perms and cleaning the salon.

Marie has enjoyed a very successful career working in numerous salons, including ones on cruise ships. Her GP and dermatologist suggested she gave up hairdressing altogether, to give herself the best opportunity to clear her skin, but this was never an option as she loved the industry too much and was determined to stick it out. However, when she was considering making a change in her career, her dermatitis was definitely a factor in her decision. Marie decided to go into teaching and one of her key reasons for this change was that she knew that she would reduce her exposure significantly and could therefore be free of the constant pain she was subjecting herself to while hairdressing.

Marie is keen for others to learn from her experience, ‘I would advise all hairdressers to look after the most precious tool they have, which is their hands. Never carry out any chemical treatment without wearing gloves and always moisturise your hands at break times and at the end of the working day. Also wear gloves outside in winter to protect your hands from the cold weather.’

Updated 2010-05-02