The risks with ‘new year, new me’

Woman getting beauty treatment

WARNING! Please note that this article contains graphic images of beauty injuries which our clients have agreed to share with others to highlight the dangers.

As the dust settles from the festive period and we enter a new year, and indeed a new decade, it is inevitable that our thoughts turn to resolutions and goals. Whether we have over indulged in roast potatoes and are looking for the latest diet, or we are trying to look younger and feel fitter, we all want to be our best selves.

The option of a quick fix is very appealing. Having specialised in beauty and hairdressing claims for the last 11 years, there are often new and/or popular treatments in the market place that over promise, and under deliver. Not only do some these treatments fail to hit the mark but they can cause devastating, even life-changing, injuries to the patient.

With the popularity of such treatments seeming to be on the rise, here are some example where such injuries have occurred.

Lip Fillers

This treatment is readily available and only partially regulated. Healthcare Improvement Scotland checking up on “independent clinics” which essentially covers medically qualified practitioners. Unfortunately non-medically qualified practitioners with little or no experience can carry out this treatment. These practitioners have no legal obligation to have insurance or to have undergone suitable training. There are a number of injuries that can be sustained from this treatment including: infection; scarring; lumps; blocking of blood vessels; lip asymmetry; tissue loss including partial loss of lip; and psychological injuries.

Lip Fillers Infection and Tissue loss - Client A
Lip Fillers Infection and Tissue loss - Client A second image

Client A - blocked vessel/widespread infection/tissue loss

Fibroblast Facial

Fibroblast is a cosmetic treatment which aims to reduce the volume of excess skin and tightens the skin. This treatment claims to be low risk with minimal downtime and is often regarded as being more affordable than surgery. It is known to be used for crows feet, frown lines and around the eye area. If carried out negligently this treatment can cause burns to the face and eyes (anaesthetic cream is used during the treatment process and may enter the eyes) and can even lead to permanent scarring. Again, only independent clinics are regulated for these treatments and therefore you may find the practitioner you attend is not regulated, properly trained and does not have insurance.

Fibroblast Facial Injury Burns and Scarring -  Client B
Fibroblast Facial Injury Burns and Scarring -  Client B second image


Fibroblast Facial Injury Burns and Scarring -  Client B third image
Fibroblast Facial Injury Burns and Scarring -  Client B fourth image

Client B - burns, scarring, chemical abrasion to eye

Laser Red Vein Therapy

Facial thread veins, or broken red veins, are small superficial red, purple or blue veins visible around the nose and across the cheeks and chin. The veins can be treated with intense pulse light (IPL) or laser treatment. Again these treatments are marketed as affordable with minimal downtime or risk. Laser treatments are extremely dangerous if they go wrong and can cause burns so severe they may require skin grafts.

Laser Red Vein Therapy Burns Injury - Client C
Laser Red Vein Therapy Burns Injury - Client C second image
Laser Red Vein Therapy Burns Injury - Client C second image

Client C - Burns, swelling and scarring

Semi Permanent Make-Up/Microblading

HD/tinted brows have been popular over the last decade with consumers looking for long-lasting and semi-permanent brows. One way they’ve sought to achieve this is via semi-permanent make-up or microblading.

Semi permanent make-up (also called micropigmentation) and microblading are types of cosmetic tattooing, but they use different methods of application. They can allow brows to last for up to two years and longer, with regular top ups. Due to the long-lasting effects, if something does go wrong, it can take some time to resolve with most clients requiring some painful laser treatment to get the brows removed. In addition to having disfigured and disproportionate brows, the colour of the pigment can go wrong and clients may suffer significant psychological injury.

Semi Permanent Makeup Brow Injury - Client D

Client D - Disproportionate/disfiguring/asymmetrical with blue tone

Semi Permanent Makeup Brow Injury - Client E

Client E - Disproportionate/disfiguring/asymmetrical brows

Hair Colouring treatments

Getting a new “do”, or changing hair colour, should be a relatively straightforward treatment you would think. However the hairdressing industry has no regulation and there are salons and mobile hairdressers that do not have suitable training or a policy of insurance. Popular ombre and balayage treatments resulting in drastic hair colour changes are becoming more and more frequent.

A common misconception is that the most dangerous risk to consumers is an allergic reaction as a result of no patch testing. Whilst we do have lots of cases on such injuries, we find the more common injuries are actually linked to hair damage caused by chemical over-processing or burns to the scalp. If you are making a significant change to your hair colour, a strand/compatibility test ought to be carried out to establish whether the treatment is suitable by your hairdresser. The time of the colouring treatment and the number of applications of toners/chemical products such as bleach, are important. If a treatment is left on too long it can cause hair breakage and burns to the scalp. The burns can be deep thermal requiring surgery or possible hair transplant procedures.

Hair Colouring Treatment Hair Breakage - Client F
Hair Colouring Treatments Hair Breakage - Client F second image

Client F – Hair breakage from over processing

Hair Colouring Treatment Burns leaving Bald Patch - Client G

Client G - burns resulting in permanent bald patch

For more information on beauty and hairdressing claims, see beauty-treatment-claims section on our website. 

Jennifer Watson
Associate, Specialist in Beauty Treatment Claims