Patch Tests and Allergies: Everything You Need To Know About Reopening Your Salon

There has been a lot of confusion about patch testing in salons recently. Salon owners are unsure how they can patch tests and adhere to social distancing regulations. Patch testing is the only way to check if a customer reacts badly to the product used. A patch test must be carried out before the product can be used fully in the customer’s appointment – even if they’ve had no problems with it in the past.

Since the pandemic began, hairdressers have started to report an increase in allergies with their clients who had the virus. The National Hair and Beauty Federation told salon owners to stay vigilant with patch tests and on top of any heightened reactions to hair dye chemicals. If a client has not done a patch test and they experience a life-threatening reaction to the product, the salon could face legal action. However, insurance can protect the salon against any large claims and fees if a patch test has been carried out. 

Patch tests, otherwise known as sensitivity tests, are not a legal requirement for salons. Although a sensitivity test is an extra step, it can save you a lot of time and money later on. There has also been talk of whether ‘long covid’ impacts a client’s reaction and sensitivity to hair dye. Some claim the immune system has been over-stimulated for a few months, making clients more likely to react to hair dye chemicals. There is no scientific research to back this theory up.

When you open your salon, you should also make an effort to keep all of your equipment clean and disinfected. Consider investing in new scissors, brushes and other equipment so that everything is in optimum condition for reopening.

Clients may be allergic to salon products, even if they weren’t before. Some hairdressers speculate this is because clients aren’t as used to the chemicals as they were when they were getting their hair done regularly. 

After April 12th, consider opening your salon after regular hours for patch tests and consultations only. This will ensure all patch tests are carried out at least two days before the appointment, and you have covered all of your bases. You can focus on your appointments throughout the day while knowing all of your patch tests are taken care of.

You must keep a record of all the patch tests you administer every six years and get them signed by the client. You can use this written record to keep track of your client’s last allergy test. You should carry out an allergy test every six months on repeat clients.  

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