In our society, women and men tend to care alot about their appearances and to enhance their appearance many go to salons. Thismeans a cosmetologist is always working. The definition of a cosmetologist is aperson who provides beauty treatments, which can refer to skin, hair and nails.Cosmetologists aid customers to enhance their appearance by executing manyservices. These services include washing, cutting, and styling hair, facials,threading and waxing eyebrows and body hair, and manicures and pedicures.
Sonia, the cosmetologist who was interviewed, partakes in all of these jobsplus owning and managing her own salon. Many people believe a job in cosmetology isan easy career with a lot of personal interactions, a flexible schedule andplace where you can express your creativity. However, there are many healthhazards and challenges that this field faces. Cosmetologists often work withbeauty products that contain many chemicals and substances leading to chemicalexposure. They also usually run around doing different and multiple tasks at atime such as hair and skin care.
Many cosmetologists go through the risks ofinfections. These risks include contact to cuts, injures or burns fromscissors, hair tools, chemicals and other equipment. Ergonomic injuries arealso often involved due to repetitive motion injuries, standing for long hoursand working in staggered shifts. Verbal abuse from clients is also another challengethat cosmetologist go through. All of these challenges and hazards could leadto stress. Abundant studies show that job stress is a leading source of stressfor American adults and that it has intensified gradually over the past fewyears and this is especially common in the field of cosmetology. Stress is something that affects many peopleeach and every day and is unfortunately very common.
Life is typically filledwith a lot of troubles, goals, hindrances, and demands. For some people stress isso common, it is a way of life and it can also be seen in one’s job. Occupationalstress also known as work related stress has been rising as one of the maincauses of harmful symptoms of mental health in recent job societies.
Many people get symptoms of depression,anxiety, and other adverse mental health effects due to the causes of excessivepressures and demands placed on individuals at work (Johnson, 2005). Whilecertain workplace stress is normal, extreme stress can hinder with efficiencyand performance, influence physical and emotional health, and can even affect relationshipsand life at home. With that said, it can also be the reason how one can either succeedor fail at their job.
Cosmetology workers, especially go through this type ofstress every day. One of the many challenges of cosmetology isbuilding a solid and constant clientele, which takes a lot of time, effort, willpower,and patience. Chemistry and comfortableness between cosmetologists and theirclients is a time-consuming task that may take many years to develop. Cosmetologistspartake in a lot of face-to-face and face-to-body interactions with customers. So,cosmetologists must be reliable, friendly, caring, trustworthy and all togethera well-rounded person (Hill, 2010). This could be especially stressful if theclients are problematic and unhappy. Cosmetologists are expected to remain calmat these instances. No matter how stressful or challenging a cosmetologist daymay be, they must always carry a smile on their faces.
This can be especially toughduring onerous times in their lives. Theyalso must be careful with whatever they are doing for and to the clients. The possibilityof making a mistake, offending and displeasing clients, and even coworkers, andlosing them increases a cosmetologist’s job stress.Another challenge for cosmetologists is thehours they work. Although the hours are adaptable and frequently work well withfamily schedules, self-employed cosmetologists who manage their own salons,similar to Sonia, usually work more hours and nights and sacrifice their weekendsto accommodate their clients’ schedules. This can especially happen if along-time client has an upcoming event in their lives and must need an urgentappointment, so cosmetologist must work around their schedules causing stress. Good health and energy are important characteristicsfor cosmetologists, however, they are many health effectsthat come with this demanding career that could lead to physical stress.
Manyergonomic injuries are caused cause of this career. Extended periods of recurringmotions stress body parts in cosmetology workers. Threading and cutting hair canbe the causes of many injuries. Most common injuries are wrist and backinjuries due to prolonged periods of time in awkward body postures andundergoing repetitive hand movements. This usually leads to musculoskeletaldisorders among many women cosmetologists, such as bursitis, carpal tunnelsyndrome, pinched nerves and varicose veins. Other symptoms are also presentsuch as back and shoulder pain, eye strain, and headaches (Kishi, 2002).Cosmetologistscan be exposed to a variety of chemicals on a daily basis, due to theirinhalation and usage of hair products, shampoos, hair dyes, hair sprays, nailpolish, and wax every day, all day which is another health effect that can leadto stress. Nail specialists respire solvents such as formaldehyde in nail polishand acetone in nail polish remover.
Filing acrylic nails, transporting the ensuingdust into the air around them is also another part of their job that harms them.Hairdressers handle and inhale vapors from dying, bleaching and stylingproducts. Chemical relaxers, permanent wave solutions and hair sprays also exhibitdanger to many parts of the body especially eyes, skin and lungs. Significant, continuedand frequent exposure to these substances, supports the development of asthma,contact allergies and inflammation of the skin, which is also known asdermatitis. Salons also have other hazards like the possibility forslip-and-fall injuries. Hair and nail products such as sprays and excess hair canmake floors slippery. Typically, unkempt areas and ill lit rooms also increasethe risk for this type of injury. Being aware and taking action to these healthhazards can lead to stress in a cosmetology worker.
Basedon observation and the interview, adequate controls are being used in Sonia’sworkplace to reduce stress. Controls such as substitution, engineering,administrative/behavioral and personal protective equipment are performed. Substitutionsuch as less hazardous chemicals are used in her salon.
I noticed that manyproducts were labeled, and were kept away clean and sterilized. For engineeringcontrols, ventilation is an important matter in her salon. She has two doors, fourwindows and on hot days, two fans. This proves that she has enough ventilation inher salon and the many chemicals that are used in the salon aren’t in the airas much and gives the workers less exposure to them. Ventilation is the bestway to lower the level of chemicals in a salon. Administrative/behavioralcontrol are also overseen, a few examples are Sonia’s workers are mandated toclean up right after each task; extra products should not lie around theworkstation; lunch isn’t in the same area as the salon, therefore food is notin the work area; not everyone uses the equipment’s at the same time andthereby distributing the exposure, and tools are sterilized after every use.
Ialso noticed during my interview that Sonia and her fellow hairdresser carriedsharp objects such as scissors but the scissors were pointed toward the floorand this simple behavioral task can reduce the risks of cuts and accidents. Personalprotective equipment’s are also used depending on the task. Non-open toed shoesand an apron is required in her salon. Like Sonia mentioned, non-open toedshoes are best for the workplace because injuries could occur, such as the fallingof the equipment and possible punctures of the sole of the feet, therefore itis a necessity for her and her workers.
When doing facials and skin care a newpair of gloves are used. Sonia and her coworkers also use a face mask when doingnails. One improvement I would suggest is to wear personal protective equipmentwhen doing hair. Sonia had mentioned personal protective equipment is not usedother than the apron and non-open toed shoes when doing hair jobs. I believewearing gloves could go a long way because dermal exposure could transpirebecause of the hair products being used.
Even though most of the controls seem minorand apparent, these are huge factors in lowering stress levels at a workplace. Based on my findings of my health hazard evaluation, Ibelieve Sonia’s health is not severely affected by the workplace hazards,especially stress. Yes, she does own her own salon, and does most of the duties,but it seems as if she has everything under control, so her stress levels seemlow. In a more personal note, I have been getting my facials, threading andwaxing, haircuts and nails from Sonia for many years now and I believe she is awell-rounded person.
I have never seen her unorganized and she is always ontime for her customer appointments. She also always seems to manage heremotions, even in difficult situations and practice good habits such as havinga positive attitude and safety patterns. This is probably because she’s beendoing this job for years and learned how to balance work and her business. Thechemicals in the salon seem safe due to the labeling and hopefully there are nounderlying future health problems. Sonia practices adequate controls in herbusiness and in result, work related stress is low among her and her workers. Manyworkers, specifically cosmetologists often suffer from health hazards,especially work-related stress and this can be harmful to both employees andthe business. This problem of work-related stress can undoubtedly be fixed byappropriate action plans and attention from the management.
Even thoughaddressing work related stress can be perplexing, it can also be a step in theright direction for positive change. This change could lead to better and more dynamicrelationships at work and for increased creativity and productivity.