Objectives To investigate whether an evidence-based intervention could reduce the incidence of hand eczema in a cohort of Danish hairdressing apprentices during their training, as hairdressing apprentices are known to have a high risk of developing hand eczema.
Methods This study was a clinically controlled, prospective intervention study. Within 2 weeks of starting their training, 502 hairdressing apprentices were enrolled in the study on occupational hand eczema. Approximately half of the apprentices were assigned to an intervention group and received an evidence-based training program developed for this study and delivered by teachers specially trained in the prevention of hand eczema; the other half received normal training and served as a control group. All apprentices completed self-administered questionnaires including questions regarding hand eczema, use of gloves and degree of wet work, and were all clinically examined for hand eczema three times during the 18-month study period. The three examinations were scheduled as school visits and consisted of a baseline examination and two follow-up examinations approximately 8 and 18 months later.
Results More apprentices from the intervention group used gloves during wet work procedures and significantly fewer developed hand eczema compared with apprentices from the control group (p=0.04). A logistic regression model showed that atopic dermatitis had a significant influence on the development of hand eczema in the cohort irrespective of the intervention.
Conclusions We were able to increase the use of gloves and reduce the incidence of hand eczema in hairdressing apprentices by implementing a training program in hairdressing schools.
- Controlled design
- hairdressing apprentices
- hand eczema
- occupational hand eczema
- hygiene/occupational hygiene
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Funding This study was supported by the Danish Hairdressers' and Beauticians' Union, the Danish Hairdresser Association, the Danish Working Environment Research Fund and the Aage Bangs Foundation.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval The Committee on Biomedical Research Ethics of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg approved this study (H-B-2007–096).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.