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Scratch Pad: How do you survive salon appointments without triggering your eczema?

We asked the NEA community for tips for navigating the beauty salon without triggering eczema flares.

Scratch Pad: How do you survive salon appointments without triggering your eczema?

Along with the possibility of embarrassment and shame, people with eczema also risk allergic reactions when they enter a product-laden salon atmosphere.

We asked  salon-goers with eczema to share their advice for getting professional grooming services that leave both the mind and the skin calm and clear.

What do you survive salon appointments without triggering your eczema?


“I have a hair colorist that does research to find dyes with no ammonia or paraphenylenediamine, and I use my own shampoo and place a barrier on ears and around my hairline (try Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly). And we allergy test a week before we dye my hair.” ~ Andrea R.

“I wash my hair at home and have a dry trim.” ~ Elaine T. 

“I ask for a hair washer that doesn’t wear nail varnish, as this can cause a scalp flare. I explain that sprays can cause problems. If I need hairspray, I cover [my] face hands and neck with a towel; for nails I take my own cream, and I can’t wear nail varnish on fingernails.” ~ Joanna P.

“I take my own prescription shampoo. I have had the same hairdresser for years, so she’s used to my condition.” ~ Beverley S.

“Tell them before they touch you that you need hypoallergenic! I am lucky that one use of something on my scalp is unlikely to cause major issues — it’s more repetitive use. The sprays cause the real problem for me, so I don’t usually have them style my hair.” ~  Mackenzie S.


“Before they start, I always inform the person who is doing any kind of salon treatment on me that I have a skin condition that is NOT contagious and will not hurt them in any way.” ~  maddy_harman

“Whenever I go to a new threading salon and have my eyebrows threaded or other facial hair waxed, the lady working there always notices the hyperpigmentation and flaking skin on my face and asks me why that is.” ~ nickyroshiniacting

“Finding an establishment that understands your condition and expresses compassion, care and consideration really helps. Having a positive relationship with a business like that can really work wonders on your stress levels!” ~ castawaycarol

“Literally found out I had a flare at the salon. She lifts my hair to snap the cape, and says, ‘Whoa, you have eczema!’ Yes, thank you. Maybe say it louder for the people in the back? In her defense it was a beauty school, so she was learning.” ~ elisekayyy

“Salons usually have candles lit or air fresheners plugged in which flare my eczema and asthma horribly. I also bring my own shampoo and conditioner if I’m going to a hair salon because I’m allergic to most hair products.” ~ littlebitt18

“I don’t go! I taught myself how to do at-home pedicures and eyebrow waxings! It saves me from the questions and comments from the beauticians.” ~ nikkicoleyy

“I don’t go anymore. I decided to do my skin a favor and use as little product as possible and skip exfoliating. I miss the feeling of being pampered at the salon, but I now see that going natural is much better for my skin!” ~ joannedekkerjewelry

“Thankfully, my hairdresser understands as she has dermatitis herself, but I’ve canceled beautician appointments before when I’ve had a flare-up.” ~ hinton.cmh

“Going to the salon poses mental and emotional challenges because it can provoke anxiety knowing that there’s really no way around the odd stares, questions and pure ignorance of people. Whoever cannot see past your skin does not deserve your time or energy because you are worthy, you are loved and special in your own way.” #fightoneczemawarriors ~ herfitlosophy

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed by NEA contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the National Eczema Association. The recommendations contained in the Scratch Pad are those of the contributors.  NEA provides health information from a variety of sources; this information is not intended as medical advice.  Persons with questions regarding specific symptoms or treatments should consult a professional health-care provider. Do you have eczema-related advice? Share your tips on our Scratch Pad!

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