Health hazards to look out for and avoid at the barbershop

The barbershop can be a dangerous place for your health if you don't take the necessary precautions

A study done that was done at the Virginia Department of Health reported that barbershop customers could be putting themselves at the risk of hepatitis B and C infection as a result of tools that are improperly cleaned and through cuts caused by these improperly cleaned instruments, including scissors, clippers and razors.

How easy is to get nicked at the barber is a very unsettling thought, especially considering the massive health implication this could have. In fact, in July, the Health Organisation Foundation in Pakistan was involved in a ‘Barber Hygiene’ campaign to raise awareness around this issue.

READ MORE: The 7 things you do that completely annoy your barber

Pakistan has the second highest prevalence of Hepatitis B and C in the world. The campaign organisers said that barber shaving can lead to hepatitis transmission in a similar way that re-using needles and syringes can.

Bring your own shaver

Just imagine how many people are in and out of your barber’s salon everyday to get a haircut with the same shaver that was used on your just two weeks ago? One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from contracting any type of infection is to invest in shaving equipment and bring it with you every time you get your hair cut. This way, you drastically reduce your risk of contracting any infection and have full control of the sterilising process.

READ MORE: When your barber’s trim messes with your hairline

Find out how it’s cleaned 

If you haven’t yet invested in your own machinery, the first thing you should do when you get to the barber is ask them to not tell you, but show you how they clean their equipment. Any good barber will not be offended by this request. These are the two things you should be looking out for:

  1. Cleaning of the equipment with a brush or in warm water and soap.
  2. Equipment placed in a disinfecting solution for a number of minutes.

If these simple steps are not followed, rather opt for a different barber. Also note that many barbers have small cabinets with a blue UV light.  These are said to not be necessarily able to kill blood-borne pathogens such as hepatitis B and C.

Self-shave 

Rather than having to go through all this trouble and potential risk, it would be a good idea to self-shave – especially if you often go to the barber for a simple cut such as a chiskop or a brush cut. This will also create a sense of pride in yourself and is a great skill to learn if you have a son, or for one day when you do have a son, as you can shave his head yourself.

Additional sources: The Express Tribune, Bottom Line Inc