Proper Ventilation: A Hot Topic In The Salon Industry

Hair stylists are exposed to airborne chemical contaminants on a daily basis.  The salon industry is notorious for having improper ventilation in place to protect salon workers from overexposure to salon chemical vapors, mists and dusts.  An incomplete understanding of both salon ventilation control measures and OSHA regulatory requirements are factors which often contribute to respiratory illness of hair stylists who are exposed to airborne chemical contaminants on a daily basis.  Recent advancements in salon ventilation technologies have been introduced to the salon industry, which when used and maintained properly, can allow salon workers to provide all types of salon chemical services in a safe working environment without compromising their health.


There are two types of ventilation:

Source capture ventilation is designed to capture salon chemical vapors and dusts at or near its source, protecting the hair stylists’ breathing zone, and preventing inhalation of, or dispersing of contaminants into the salon air.

The system pictured above shows an example of source capture ventilation supplemented by a whole salon air purifier (bottom right)

General exhaust ventilation (also called dilution ventilation) is different from source capture ventilation because instead of capturing emissions at their source and removing them from the air, general exhaust ventilation allows the chemical vapors & dusts to be emitted into the salon air and breathing zone of the hair stylist, and then possibly inhaled into the cosmetologist’s respiratory system.  General ventilation then dilutes the concentration of contaminants to an acceptable level.

Salon ventilation has become a hot topic with the introduction of keratin hair smoothing services.  Formaldehyde vapors are released into the air when heat is applied during blow drying and flat ironing of the hair, as well as during application of keratin hair smoothing products which contain formaldehyde releasing ingredients.  Repeated overexposure to formaldehyde vapors can cause “sensory irritation”, (i.e. burning / watery eyes, scratchy throat and runny nose).  Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing, occupation-related asthma and other related skin allergic sensitivity.  To avoid this overexposure, proper salon ventilation is vital.

Protect Yourself By Preventing Dust Inhalation In Your Salon

Dust.  It’s everywhere.  Nowhere is this more evident than in your nail salon.  The best way to control dust in a salon is with a professional source capture ventilation system designed to collect and remove dust particles from the air or to ventilate them to the outdoors.  With these systems in place, dust is collected at the source and removed from the salon air before it can spread throughout the building, pollute the air, and end up in the last place you want it, your lungs.

In addition to source capture ventilation technology in your salon, wearing a high quality, properly fitted dust mask greatly reduces exposure to nail dust inhalation.  Choosing  a mask specifically designed for dusts, mists and molds is very important.  These types of masks are vastly superior to the flimsy and ineffective surgical type masks that some nail techs use today.  Dust masks rated “N-95” are highly effective and a great choice for dusts.

Check out the video below to see what salon industry expert Doug Schoon has to say about keeping your salon dust levels to a safe level.

Dangers of Electric Filing the Natural Nail







Beauty Industry Expert and Scientist Doug Schoon Stresses the Importance of Salon Ventilation on the ABC News Website

In a new article on via the Associated Press, beauty industry expert Doug Schoon weighs in on the importance of proper ventilation in the salon industry.

With the recent revelations that certain nail polishes labeled free of toxic chemicals actually contain high levels of the agents, Mr. Schoon agrees that mislabeling of products should never be done, but stresses that proper ventilation and training of salon employees are much more important factors in preventing health problems.  Mr. Schoon states:

“[The] need for appropriate ventilation for the work you’re doing, whether it be in printing shops or other workplaces, is a huge area of opportunity that the (DTSC) should be focusing on”.

To learn more and read the entire article, click here




The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) Releases New Educational Webinar Featuring Industry Expert Doug Schoon Explaining the Best Ways to Keep Your Salon Safe

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) has released a new webinar entitled “Navigate OSHA Standards with Industry Expert Doug Schoon“.  The presentation, delivered by renown scientist and industry expert Doug Schoon, highlights the importance of taking the proper steps to ensure a safe salon environment.  Subjects covered in the video include:

Proper salon ventilation (such as implementing a source capture system)

Who and what is OSHA?

Compliance requirements for salons

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

Formaldehyde, bloodborne pathogens and hazard communications

Top OSHA issues and violations within the salon

Doug Schoon, a leading research scientist and educator, will shed light on how these topics relate to salons and the professional beauty industry in terms we can all understand.  The importance of proper salon ventilation can be seen twice in the presentation at minute marks 27:10-28-15 and 53:18-55:10   To check out the the video (number 22 in the PBA catalog), click here.

Research Begins On The Effectiveness Of Source Capture Ventilation Systems For Use In Nail Salons

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) currently has a research project to examine the effectiveness of different source capture ventilation systems (SCVS) units for use in nail salons, including downdraft vented nail tables and portable SCVS received from developers, manufacturers, distributors, or vendors (see the Federal Register NoticeRight-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. External Web Site Icon). Summarized results of the research and recommendations from NIOSH will be shared with salon workers, salon owners, and the public with the hope of providing valuable information for maximizing salon ventilation effectiveness.