A hairdresser today issued a health warning to others in the industry as she described how her nose collapsed after years of inhaling human hairs.
Edwina Phillipson, 51, said the millions of tiny fragments of hair she breathed in during her 35-year career as a hairdresser lodged in her nose and led to an infection that eventually caused a hole to open in her septum.
Just two weeks ago she had an operation at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital to repair the open wound and now wears a surgical mask when she works to protect her nose.
Mother-of-three Mrs Phillipson, who runs her own unisex salon in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, issued a warning to others in the hair industry to protect themselves.
She told the Evening Chronicle: "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.
"Employers have got to allow their employees to protect themselves, otherwise they will open themselves up to legal action."
Mrs Phillipson said the problems began at least 12 years ago when her nose began to itch from hairs in the air at work but scratching it only made it worse as it created an open wound that was easily infected.
Two weeks ago she had an operation to rebuild her nose using cartilage from her right ear and now wears a mask at all times when at work to protect against further infection,