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

Contact Dermatitis. 2012 Jun;66(6):323-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2012.02050.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beauty Culture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects
  • Denmark
  • Eczema / chemically induced
  • Eczema / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Protective / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hair Bleaching Agents / adverse effects
  • Hair Dyes / adverse effects
  • Hand Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Hand Dermatoses / prevention & control*
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Cosmetics
  • Hair Bleaching Agents
  • Hair Dyes
  • Water