How to Avoid Being the Victim of Hair Salon Chemical Burns
When going to the hair salon most customers don’t think they could be the victim of hair salon liability. One common form of injury at the hair salon is chemical burns due to hair relaxers and coloring dyes.
Often, chemical burns at the hair salon involve both chemical (product related) and thermal (heat related) components. Hairstylists use heat to speed up the chemical reaction when they apply the product. The use of hood dryers is common in the industry as it speeds up the process allowing for hairstylists to see more customers and make more money, however, the use of heat increases the probability a customer could suffer burns.
Victims of salon chemical burns can suffer significant and permanent injuries. Most chemical burns are minor and resolve relatively quickly. However, some injuries occurring to the scalp and neck result in permanent hair loss and scarring. In serious cases, surgical intervention is required.
Hairstylists commonly claim that adverse reactions are the result of an allergic reaction, thereby suggesting its not their fault. This excuse is unfair to the customer. The chemicals are within the control of the hairstylist and not the customer. Hairstylist could provide a sample size of the product to customers so they can apply in advance to small patches of skin to ensure the customer is not allergic. The stylist could likewise apply a small sample to the customer in advance. Hairstylists are trained to apply the product behind the ear or in the fold of the elbow the day before the application of the product to see if there is a negative reaction. When hairstylists fail to take these precautions they put the customers’ safety at risk.
There are best practices to avoid salon injuries when using a product to dye, relax, bleach or perming your hair
- Follow all directions on the label
- Do patch tests on your skin every time before using product your hair
- Keep product away from your eyes
- Never use dyes on your eyebrows or eyelashes
- Do not scratch or brush your scalp three days before using hair dyes
- Do not dye or relax your hair if your scalp is irritated, sunburned, or damaged
- Wait at least 14 days after bleaching, relaxing, or perming your hair before using another product
- Do not leave the product on longer than the directions say
In Florida, the legislature passed the Cosmetology Act to regulating licensure of individuals who wish to pursue careers in cosmetology such as hairstylists. One of the requirements of the Cosmetology Act is to ensure that stylists have proper training prior to beginning employment and have continuing education requirements to help avoid unnecessary chemical burns at the hair salon.
Food and Drug Administration Regulations
Color additives need approval from the Food and Drug Administration before they are permitted for use in cosmetics. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) color additives must be approved by the FDA for their intended use before they are used. The FDA can take action against a cosmetic on the market if it is harmful to consumers when used in the customary or expected way and used according to labeled directions.
There are differences in the way the FDA treats coal-tar dyes. The FDA cannot take action against a coal-tar hair dye, as long as the label includes a special caution and the product comes with adequate directions for consumers to do a skin test before they dye their hair. The cautionary statements should read as follows:
Caution – This product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation on certain individuals and a preliminary test according to accompanying directions should first be made. This product must not be used for dyeing the eyelashes or eyebrows; to do so may cause blindness. (FD&C Act, 601(a))
However, there are limits to this exception for coal-tar dyes.
How to Report a Problem to FDA
If you have a reaction to hair dye or any other cosmetic, after contacting your doctor, seek legal help. At Dismuke Law, we report adverse incidents to the FDA and take legal action against negligent actors to recover compensation for our clients.
Liability for Hair Salon Chemical Burns
Unfortunately, when hairstylists fail to take their job seriously or rush, significant and permanent injury can occur due to chemical burns. In Florida hairstylist and their employers can be held liable for injuries caused by hair salon chemical burns. If you are the victim of salon negligence contact us today for a free consultation.
See Fla. Stat. 477.019