I've worn elastic hair ties around my wrist since I was a child. And now as an adult, I've upgraded to wearing them as bracelets. I seriously love them. In fact, the only problem I've ever encountered with hair ties is the (often painful) dent around my wrist; but after hearing about hair ties giving skin infections, I could be in for bigger problems. WLKY reported that Audree Kopp of Louisville wore a hair tie that caused three (yes, three) infections on her wrist.
As crazy and terrifying as that sounds, getting a serious infection from a hair tie is a very real thing. We asked New York dermatologist Michele J Farber, of Schweiger Dermatology Group to help us understand the root of the problem. "A hair tie may cause a cut or an abrasion on your wrist after chronically rubbing on your wrist," she says. "If the cut is deep enough, it can allow bacteria that normally live on the skin, or potentially dangerous pathogens such as MRSA or E. Coli, to penetrate to deeper layers where they do not belong. The earliest sign is a painful pink bump, which can grow into an abscess."
Although you may not realize it, hair ties can pick up bacteria when housed in gym bags, handbags, or when they fall on the floor—which happens to all of us almost everyday. To stay ahead of infections, keep them clean. "Although infections from hair bands are uncommon, wash your ties with antibacterial soap or recycle them every so often to help reduce your risk," she says. "Maintaining proper hand hygiene is also important for preventing infection as well. It's also helpful to keep your hair tie loose around your wrist so that it does not chronically rub or irritate the area."
With the holiday season upon us, it's prime time for wearing metal hair accessories, but be careful they don't scratch your skin. Farber says metals can trigger eczema and allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin, as these metals often contain nickel or metal combinations that are common allergens. So the next time you reach for your metal hair tie, think again (and again) about wearing it on your wrist. I sure will.
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