woman with red hair

The Ugly Side of Salons: Severe Thermal & Chemical Burns

Physical injury is not normally associated with an average trip for a color and cut at your local salon. However, numerous incidents have been reported involving thermal (heat-related) or chemical (product-related) burns from customers in salons across the country.

Medical studies have been conducted and articles published, both domestically and internationally, that outline the potential dangers of a salon treatment. These are not rare occurrences, and, while they may not be so prolific as to make the evening news with regularity, it has been said that “hairdressing-related burns are preventable and therefore each case is one too many.” As such, there is a very good chance that injuries resulting from the application of chemicals or heat in a salon are caused by the negligence of the salon employees. While it may be suggested by the hairstylist that the burn or irritation was caused by an allergy, and therefore outside of their control, each case must be investigated to determine if a failure took place that should have been avoided.

The latest incident to receive significant news coverage was in Florida. The victim reported permanent disfigurement in the form of scars on her scalp following a bleaching process applied by a local salon. Unfortunately, without surgical intervention, the victim’s hair will likely not form in the affected areas.

Cosmetology Regulations & Known Hazards

There are legitimate concerns in the use of such products in salons, making necessary the regulation of cosmetology. In Florida, the legislature passed the Cosmetology Act, regulating the licensure of individuals who wish to pursue careers in cosmetology.

One of the requirements of the Cosmetology Act is continuing education pertaining to things such as:

  • Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations
  • Workers’ compensation issues
  • State and federal laws and rules related to cosmetologists, cosmetology, salons, etc.
  • Chemical composition related to use on hair, skin, and nails
  • Environmental concerns

An article posted by CNN in December 2016 noted that hair relaxers posed dangers having ingredients that have been tied to various hazards, such as cancer, hormonal complications, and reproductive damage. These dangers are similar to those in coloring and bleaching products. A recent article in Teen Vogue identified hair relaxers, dye, and bleaching products as the “worst culprits” in salon injuries. Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed in Virginia alleging $4.5 million in damages for loss of hair and burns to her scalp from the application of a bleaching agent.

Both the safety of the products being used and following correct protocol in their use are essential to the safety of consumers.

Dismuke Law Wins Big for a Salon Injury Client

Attorney David Dismuke of Dismuke Law recently took a case to trial in which our client had suffered serious burns to his scalp during a visit to a chain hairstylist. The client went in for a simple haircut and dye. The negligent hairstylist testified that as she mixed the dye powder and activating agent, she noticed that it was runny and proceeded to add more of the dyeing agent to the mix. The mixture was supposed to be applied off the scalp but, as our client testified and the photographs of the client's wounds brought to light, the mixture had gotten on the client's scalp. To exacerbate matters, the client was then placed under a heat chair and left to burn.

At trial, our client testified to the agony he suffered during the weeks of wound care and throughout the corrective surgery that was required. During these surgical procedures, the medical team had to cut out the bald patches that had developed on his scalp and then sew the scalp back together, which was incredibly painful for our client. The jury awarded nearly $400,000 to our client.

If you’ve been seriously injured as a result of negligence by a hairstylist, contact us at 1-800-Ask-Dave. You could be owed significant compensation for your pain, suffering, and disfigurement. We can fight for it on your behalf.

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