Skip to main content
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS AND TOXIC CHEMICALS WHERE YOU LIVE, WORK, AND PLAY

Hair and Nail Salons

What are they?

Hair and nail salons offer cosmetic treatments for men and women. They provide foot, hand, and nail care; nail manicures; haircuts and hair styling; and other services.

See also: Acetone Solvents

Why are they a concern?

Salon products may contain potentially harmful chemicals that can cause asthma among workers, as well as other health concerns. Many chemicals in nail products evaporate into the air, potentially affecting clients as well as workers. Nail polish removers are sometimes abused as recreational inhalants to get high.

Some hair dye products contain ingredients that may irritate or penetrate the skin. Some products must not be used to dye eyelashes or eyebrows because they may cause blindness.

Salon workers may be exposed to latex dust if they use latex gloves. This can cause allergies.

Hair sprays are flammable and contain a variety of chemicals.

Who is at risk?

  • Salon workers, owners, and clients are at risk.
  • Children are especially at risk if they are exposed to or accidentally drink nail polish removers and artificial nail removers.

What pollutants are of greatest concern?

Salon products can contain many harmful chemicals, including:

Reduce your risk

  • Do you work in a hair or nail salon?
  • Do you frequently visit a hair or nail salon?
  • Circulate fresh air throughout the salon.
  • Handle products safely, including closing containers and ultimate disposing of them.
  • Workers should wear proper gloves and masks.
  • Clean work stations between clients.
  • Use new or sterilized tools for each client.
National Library of Medicine Resources and Databases
Additional Resources
Back to top