Licensee Fact Sheet 13

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Thermal Hairstyling

You may work with thermal irons to straighten, press, or curl hair. The different kinds of irons used for these services all have similar health and safety hazards. Tools and equipment used with irons, like combs, can also be dangerous if they get too hot.

What are the hazards of working with thermal irons?

  • Skin burns
  • Electric shocks

When can you get a skin burn?

  • When you heat an iron
  • When you use an iron on a client's hair
  • When you put an iron away
  • When you accidentally touch a hot iron which someone left out
  • When an iron falls
  • When you touch a comb that is too hot

When can you get an electric shock?

  • When an electric iron is old or worn out
  • When the cord is old or worn out
  • When you touch an electric iron or cord with wet hands

How can you protect yourself?

  • Do not leave a hot iron where someone can accidentally touch it.
  • Be careful when you set a hot iron on a countertop. Place it where it will not fall.
  • Do not place a cord where someone may trip over it and make the iron fall.
  • Discard or repair an electric iron when it seems defective.
  • Make sure the cord is in good shape and not frayed.
  • Disconnect all electrical equipment after you are done with it.
  • Do not overload electric circuits.
  • Use a three-prong electrical outlet that has a ground wire.
  • Do not touch an electric iron or cord when your hands are wet.
  • Use combs made of hard rubber or other non-flammable materials. Some combs can burn or melt. Do not use metal combs because they can get very hot.

NOTE: When using a thermal protectant spray it should be understood that some of these products contain the chemical cyclopentasiloxane or cyclomethicone. Under the high heat of a flat iron this chemical creates formaldehyde. Formaldehyde exposure may lead to breathing problems, coughing, wheezing, skin rashes and eye, nose and throat irritation. Long term exposure may increase the chance of cancer and/or dermatitis.

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