Gloves in the Beauty Services Industry

Anyone who has been to a barbershop, hair salon, med spa, etc may have noticed that the employees tend to wear gloves when performing most of their services. But why? No, it’s not because they are concerned with catching your cold. We will be discussing why the beauty services industry is required by law to don gloves as well as the reasons these employees need this protective gear. 

The Law:

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the production and marketing of disposable gloves in the medical and food processing and service industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the production and marketing of industry grade gloves. OSHA standards developed in 1970 were passed to protect employees from harmful work conditions. The bloodborne pathogens (BBP) regulation was added to OSHA standards in 1993. It reads, in part: “The bloodborne pathogens standard applies to all employees with occupational exposure to blood and/or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), even if no actual exposure incidents have occurred.” Occupational exposure is defined as: “Any reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood (and/or OPIM) that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.” This covers the beauty services industry.

The Protection:  

Beauticians may come in contact with blood and other bodily fluids when doing their jobs. Examples of these services may include nail care services, shaving within a barber shop, esthetician services such as botox or filler injections. Gloves will protect these employees from cross contamination. 

Estheticians- In the United States there are estimated to be between 600,000-800,000 accidental needle sticks every year. Yes, most of these occur in a healthcare setting, however, estheticians use hyperdermic needles for many services daily. Wearing an approved high quality glove, such as nitrile, can protect hands from these sharps accidents. 

Hair Salons- These employees often come in contact with many dangerous chemicals during routine services. Black nitrile gloves offer great protection and are resistant to harsh chemicals. Nitrile will also provide protection against cuts from scissors and razors.

Nail salons- There are many biological hazards nail salon workers can encounter. The worst offenders are viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Examples include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Nail technicians are also exposed to many different chemicals every day. OSHA requires product manufacturers to provide salon owners with material safety data sheets (MSDSs) 1 for the products they buy that contain hazardous chemicals. 

The Chemicals: 

Formaldehyde may cause cancer after long-term exposure

TolueneThis is one of the most toxic chemicals used in salons and has been linked to skin rashes, nausea, eye irritation, and headaches

Acetone- This may cause headaches; dizziness; and irritated eyes, skin, and throat.

Dibutyl phthalate- This may cause nausea and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat. Long-term exposures to high concentrations may cause other serious effects.

More information regarding nail salon chemicals and their health hazards can be found on the OSHA website here,

The Bottom Line:

Gloves are extremely important to the safety of employees within the beauty services industry. Using a thick latex or nitrile glove can protect technicians from cross contamination, accidental needle sticks, and chemical exposures. Legacy Medical Sales provides many options for these industries at great prices, our black nitrile BX3 glove is the most popular and protective option. Check here for all of your glove options: Not sure which glove protection is the best fit for your salon? Simply contact a sales representative at Legacy Medical Sales for a custom solution at or 1-800-446-7310.