Can I Get Head Lice from the Beauty Salon?

Most people don't think about risk when going to the hair salon. Whether someone seeks services for nails, hair or face, salons are generally places of pampering, not untold health risks. In reality, some dangers do exist regarding the spread of infectious diseases. These include such conditions as skin and fungal infections, ringworm and head lice.

How Lice is Spread

It is only natural that some questions should arise concerning head lice and the likelihood of it existing in hair salons. Fortunately, lice cannot jump or fly between persons. These insects can travel, however, through head-to-head contact within crowded environments.

Essentially, head lice crawl between hosts and along commonly-used items. When infected objects are shared between persons, so are the lice. Hats, combs, brushes, towels, hair accessories and pillows are the most prominent materials by which head lice spread.

Because children unwittingly share these items, they are often more susceptible to head lice than adults.

Head Lice and the Salon

It would seem likely that head lice could freely exist and multiply within a hair salon. However, the extensive precautions taken by those workers often avert such incidents. First and foremost, the majority of salon workers will refuse treatment to a client with lice. This is not to embarrass that person, but rather to prevent a mass outbreak. Such could potentially impact an entire community and close a salon indefinitely.

Salon workers are also well-trained in washing and disinfecting their instruments to prevent the spread of any disease. Proper sanitization is a legal requirement strongly enforced by most salon owners. Anti-bacterial solutions, disinfectants and hot water are the most routinely used of salon equipment cleansers. Many states also enact individual guidelines as to how specific instruments (such as scissors, brushes and razors) should be cleaned. In order to contract head lice from a hair salon, an entire scenario needs to unfold almost to a science.

First, an infected person must walk into the salon and receive a service. This means the hair stylist must either ignore the lice and continue working on that person or simply not detect the presence of lice. Once the affected client has left, the stylist must then forego proper sanitization of his or her equipment.

The next person would then be subject to contamination and likely develop his or her own case of head lice. In short, it is not impossible to contract head lice from a hair salon. However, given the specific circumstances that need to cause this, it is unlikely. Upscale and well tended salons pose only a small danger.

What to Watch for in Any Salon

To further reduce the likelihood of contracting head lice in a hair salon, persons need to have knowledge of basic disinfecting requirements. These should be observed during every salon trip as a means of safeguarding ones health.

  • Always ensure that the stylist pulls his or her instruments from a container in which disinfectant clearly resides. If those instruments are pulled from a drawer, clients should feel free to ask if they are newly replaced or not yet used for the day.
  • Look inside the public restrooms to gauge their cleanliness. If they appear remiss, this may be a sign that the rest of the salon is less than completely hygienic.
  • Stylists should be dressed in protective garments that include gloves and aprons. Such is an indication of their commitment to hygiene.
  • Clients should witness their stylist wash his or her hands throughout the course of the visit.

Anyone who has questions regarding the sanitization measures of a salon should speak to someone about them. This can provide additional insight as to how the salon actively eliminates its risk of diseases. Knowing those methods can further help people take their own steps in protecting hair and skin health.

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