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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 2, 2002


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2002;288(13):1660. doi:10.1001/jama.288.13.1660

The dangers of the barber shop, while perhaps not as serious as they might be, are still uncomfortable subjects for reflection, and whatever will insure against them ought to be welcomed by the patronizing public. In Missouri they have a State Board of Examiners for barbers, with authority to make rules for their guidance that shall be imperative. The board has just issued a very elaborate set of regulations for barber shops, which if enforced would rob shaving of its terrors to those initiated into its pathologic possibilities. The shops must be scrubbed with hot water and lye every night; the razors, clippers and scissors dipped in a 10 per cent. solution of formaldehyd after each use and the hands cleansed; brushes and combs, towels, etc., must be sterilized and cleansed before use; sponges and powder puffs are forbidden, and special disinfection is ordered after operating on any person who has a facial or scalp eruption. In short, the Missouri barbers must hereafter be aseptic in every sense or the state board will be after them. There is a suggestion of something of antiquity in thus placing the barbers under a like control to that of the practice of medicine, but the idea is thoroughly in accordance with modern hygienic theories. The barbers may object and some of them require a little disciplinary treatment before the salutary measures prescribed are made effectual in all quarters, but the public will endorse the rules. It is not pleasant to think of the chance of getting whatever it may be that goes under the name of barber's itch, but there are still worse things that might be conveyed. If Missouri enforces her regulations, which is perhaps doubtful, other states will soon be following her example in response to public demand.

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