London, Oct 14 (ANI): A British hairdresser was horrified when her nose collapsed after decades of breathing in tiny hair clippings.
Edwina Phillipson from Northumberland said tiny fragments of hair lodged themselves in the skin inside her nose.
This caused an infection that eventually caused a hole to open through her septum.
After 35 years of being exposed to the professional hazard the mother-of-three had to undergo an operation to rebuild it using cartilage taken from her right ear.
Edwina, who has taken to wearing a surgical mask in her salon in an effort to stop the problem, has issued a warning to others in the hair industry to protect their noses while they work.
"I feel this should be highlighted - it's a danger we are putting ourselves in, but it's like the risks of smoking, everyone thinks it won't happen to them," the Daily Mail quoted Phillipson, who runs her own unisex salon in Newbiggin-by-the Sea, as saying.
"Employers have got to allow their employees to protect themselves, otherwise they will open themselves up to legal action.
"They are running a huge risk by not giving people that option. Paying for masks might eat into overheads but at what price do you put on your health?" she said.
Phillipson's problems began 12 years ago when her nose began to get irritated from hairs in the air at work.
Scratching the area made the problem worse, as it created an open wound which was ripe for infection and would then attract more hairs.
She said: "It became a vicious cycle. It ended up at the stage where I had a hole, which went right through my septum.
"It caused horrendous problems with my sinuses, headaches, breathing difficulties, and the fact that the wound was never closed meant there was always a raw edge somewhere. It was really very painful.
"As a hairdresser you're working with tiny clippings of short hair so you end up hovering them up with your nose inadvertently.
"It's not just the hair, it's the dead skin cells, gel on people's hair and other particles they bring in with them." (ANI)