Risk level

Treacherous cocktail bar

Bartenders mix and serve drinks to guests at restaurants, bars and pubs. It is often a lively and stressful environment where you can meet lots of people during the course of a shift. Most of us know that bartenders sometimes get to try their hand at amateur psychology, but we are less aware that cigarette smoke and lemon slices can cause them problems.

What are the risks?

As a bartender you will often come into contact with different drinks, fruits and water when serving customers and keeping the bar area tidy. Wet work is hard on the skin and can cause hand eczema. The skin will then become dry, red and flaky with cracks and blisters that itch. The peel and juice from some fruits can also irritate the skin and lead to eczema on the hands.

Cigarette smoke can be an issue at outdoor establishments and can be very problematic if you have asthma.

Prevention and avoidance

While plastic gloves aren't that great for bar work, it is a good idea to have unperfumed hand cream with you. Rub it in during breaks and before and after a shift so that it can strengthen your skin and prevent eczema.

If you suffer from asthma, it's best to avoid problems by working in a smoke-free environment.

If you suffer from eczema or did so when you were little (atopic eczema), you should think carefully before deciding to become a bartender, as the work involved means that there's a risk that it will come back or get worse.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about allergy and eczema when working as a bartender, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.