Getting your hair cut when your skin is challenging, both on your face, neck and scalp is one of the hardest things to navigate. It can mean sometimes people go years without having a haircut. There are so many reasons why this is so hard. This blog looks at the reasons why and what you can do to stay safe and avoid a skin flare.
10 reasons I find getting my hair cut challenging
- Fragrance – Being allergic or sensitive to perfumes can make hair salons a triggering place and many people say they flare after just walking into one. Bear this in mind if you are planning a hair cut. Everything from the hair dyes, spray, wax, shampoos and conditioners add to the smell pea soup!
- Heat – Even in winter it can be hot and stuffy inside. Dress in layers with a vest top underneath so you can strip off if you are over heating. Ask for a wet cut, it’s cheaper and means you can avoid the heat of blow drying.
- Products – If you’ve forgotten your own shampoo, the products used can be irritating. Always ask for a sensitive skin products as most salons will have a range.
- Mirrors – I don’t look in mirrors at home, I avoid my reflection and find it really hard sitting looking at myself for an hour, especially when my face is flaring as it is today.
- Anxiety – I know most of it is in my head, but I’ve had so many hive and itch attacks after products used at the hair dressers. Also going out when you have topical steroid withdrawal or a visible skin condition is very challenging. We don’t want to be judged, when the irony is it’s us judging ourselves that’s the most harsh and damaging. Be kind to yourself, you’re worth it.
- Skin Flaring – As mentioned, hair salon products can be a little harsh for some skins, and often contain lots of perfumes so be careful what treatments and products you allow them to use. I’d steer clear of them all if you can.
- The blow dry – Hot, hot and too hot! I never blow dry my own hair at home except if I have to go out in winter and have just washed it. It always makes my scalp dry. The hair dryers are often set on a very high heat setting, ask for cooler and ask for a wet but if you can.
- Shame and judging my own appearance – I can’t help it, I do it all the time. Try to be kind to yourself. You’re doing great and you look great. We often feel we look way worse than we actually do. Probably no one is even noticing your skin.
- Menopausal flushing – I’m definitely fully in the menopause so being in that hot steamy environment, with hair dryers and straighteners and hair all over your face and neck while they cut it is so difficult. I get so hot I want to just shave all my hair off and rip all my clothes off and run outside.
- Being seem in public with TSW – This is always hard, but every time you do out, show your skin bravely and get some fresh air, it’s a win over TSW. Hiding away at home can seem like the only option but it’s not great for your mental health. Who cares what people think. I’ve got braver and better at this as I’ve got older. Don’t feel you need to hide away, you are beautiful, flaws and scars and all.
There’s a lot going on, and it can be really hard going out at all, let alone to a salon full of people you imagine to have perfect skin, all having treatments you can’t do any more. Getting your hair cut should be a fun experience, full of joy, pampering and giving you a boost.
Over the years I’ve found many things that help me experience getting my hair cut whilst staying safe and flare free.
10 tips for getting your hair cut with eczema skin
- Go prepared – take your own safe shampoo. I took my lovely Olsson shampoo and conditioner and they were more than happy to use this for me. Use code WHATALLERGY10 at checkout for 10% off at checkout. Visit Olsson for details, their shampoo is accredited by Allergy UK.
- No Products – Ask them not to use any products with fragrance, and if you’re very sensitive, avoid hair spray and wax products. There can be a lot of things used in a standard hair cut and any of them could cause irritation so if you can’t check for your allergens, it’s safer to avoid them.
- No blow dry – The heat of the hair dryers can be very triggering for eczema skin, and not great for dry scalps. Get a wet cut and you’ll also save money! Hair straighteners can also make you get quite hot as the heated hair falls back down onto your skin and scalp. Best avoided if heat exacerbates your skin.
- Tell them about your skin – be open and honest and tell your hair dresser, the person washing your hair and any one else you are dealing with so they can be mindful and avoid using anything that you are not comfortable with. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know. Be concise and firm.
- Ask for a mirror free experience – My local hair dressers don’t offer this service but I mentioned it to them and they were interested in the idea. I’ve heard that some hair dressers have a blind or cover they can draw down over the mirror if people don’t want to stare at themselves for an hour! Thanks to Louise Roddick for this wonderful information.
- Get your hair cut at home – If you can find someone willing to visit your home you can completely control the whole situation. I’ve tried this and not found anyone I really trust yet, but it’s worth
- Deep breathing – At some points I felt so hot and uncomfortable, especially when my hair was hanging down over the front of my face and while blow drying. I would normally avoid the blow dry but am going out tonight so decided to go full on with the whole experience so I could go out feeling fancy. I wanted to tear out of the salon to cool down, but instead I tried to drop my shoulders, breath deeply and slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth. Using positive affirmations that I would be OK, I would be alright, this hair drying would stop, I could be out in the cool air soon… I got through it. The slowing down of my breath helped so much.
- Distraction – If you can read while getting your hair cut, this can really help to keep your hands busy. It is really hard not being able to put my hair up, brush it out of my face or touch tickly or itchy parts.
- Reward yourself – If getting your hair cut is a really big deal, promise yourself a treat after you’ve gone through with it. It can be anything from a small treat to a new book, item of clothing etc.
- Be brave – You’ve go this and if you really want to get your hair cut, you can do this. I’ve been planning my recent cut for MONTHS… I always go early in the day when it’s less hot and steamy and quieter, and I always feel better afterwards. Go for it! Be brave and book that cut. Or try some of the other ideas.
- Get a Crea clip – I’ve seen a few videos of how these work, and they’re pretty cool, if you have longer hair, or for doing angled fringes on shorter hair. It means you cut your hair on your own. I don’t have one myself but am definitely going to look into getting one. They are relatively inexpensive, and come with some hair scissors so might be worth trying if you really don’t want to go into a hair salon.
Be very wary of some damaging treatments
Treatments like perming and hair dying can cause a lot of irritation to the skin. Always get a patch test done before getting your hair coloured to avoid serious allergic reactions. Check out Allergy to Hair Dye for more information if you are worried.
Using a Crea Clip to cut your own hair
I’ve never done this but some people have told me it works great! You can get a buddy to help you or do it yourself!
Do you love getting your hair cut or hate it?
I’d love to hear your tips too. Please comment below with what you do, whether you avoid salons and cut your own, get it cut at home, or brave the hair dressers.
Just know you are not alone. In a recent social media post I was blown away by how many people felt the same fear as I did. Far more than I every imagined. It’s perfectly normal to be fearful or being so visible with a skin condition, but you are worthy, you are worth it, you deserve to have a lovely hair cut. It can help you too as it can lighten heavy hair and keep you cooler, and also boost your self esteem. It’s amazing what a great hair cut can do for the morale.