• Posted by Charlene Marshall on July 12, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Recently a member of another online platform for patients living with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) posted about how patients handle going to the hairdressers. Her post was specifically directed to ladies, and how they tolerate the smell of the chemicals when putting colour or highlights in their hair. If you’ve ever had this done, you can attest to the fact that the smell can be quite strong and overwhelming.

    I get my hair done a couple of times per year, usually adding highlights to it and have never noticed difficulty with the smell(s) or breathing in the chemicals of the hair dye. However, her post left me thinking about what the inhalation of these chemicals could do to already-damaged lungs. Is there a potential for this doing to be doing additional harm to my lungs, but just not something we’ve thought about yet? I certainly wonder because the chemical combination cannot be good for us to breathe in.

    In thinking about this, and knowing that I have an upcoming appointment to get my hair done, I’m wondering if I should use my Vogmask just to protect my lungs. Even though I can tolerate the smell (it isn’t pleasant, but it is tolerable), I bet my mask would be beneficial just to avoid breathing in any toxins or chemicals.

    To the ladies (or gentlemen) on this forum who get their hair done: have you ever struggled with the chemicals at the hairdressers?

    If so, what do you do to help with this, or have you ever taken specific action to protect your lungs when getting your hair done? 

    I am curious to hear from you!

    Charlene Marshall replied 5 years, 9 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Steve Daggett

    July 21, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Strong odors have been the bane of my existence for several years. While I don’t frequent hair salons (I’ve been shaving my head for several years), I do often accompany my wife at nail salons. I usually have to sit next to the door (if it’s open) or wait outside if there are several people getting nail polish applied/removed. Otherwise the odor triggers a coughing spell. I’ve had to use my mask a few times, especially when I’m getting my 4 acrylic nails filled and shaped (I play guitar!).

    Perfumes and colognes can trigger my coughing, as well as household cleaners. I try to avoid the detergent/soap aisle in grocery stores. I can’t enter certain stores that have lots of scented candles, imported wicker baskets, etc. on display due to the strong odors.

    Since odors are actually made up of the same molecules of the chemical(s) being used, those molecules do make it into your lungs. Can’t be healthy, especially with diseased lungs! Since our lungs are exposed to everything in the air we breathe in, those of us with depleted/damaged breathing organs need to be extra cautious.

    I attend a monthly pre/post lung transplant support group at UCLA (I’m pre). Once I have the transplant, I’ll be even more restricted with what I can be exposed to. Not saying I won’t be better off (I will be!), but I’ll have to be extra careful.

  • Charlene Marshall

    July 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Steve,


    Thanks for getting in touch and contributing your comments to this thread. Yes, strong smells really bother me as well, and unfortunately they seem to be everywhere! I am acutely more aware of it now/since my IPF diagnosis in early 2016: nail salons, hair dressing places and even people’s perfume and cologne as you say. Not only do these smells trigger a cough, but often cause me to have a painful headache as well. I usually wear my mask as well, and sometimes depending on the people/place, I mention the importance of no-scent policies (ie. hospital waiting rooms and my place of employment both have signs up about this and oftentimes people don’t follow them).

    I usually wear my mask when I am in large crowds of people outside as well, as inevitably someone will be smoking and that is awful for me. You’re right about strong-scented stores, ones with candles, soaps etc. One I was surprised about, that I struggled with was actually the Bulk Barn. There were so many scents from the spices and herbs they had for cooking that is set off a coughing spell for me!

    Yes for sure Steve, you’ll need to take extra precautions about what you breathe in with your new precious gift — I know you will, what a wonderful time for you (scary though too, I bet). Fingers crossed that you get the call soon for your new lungs!  Praying for you 🙂

    Kind regards,

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