Botched Beauty – What To Do When Beauty Treatments Turn Ugly

Get ready for your close-up! We live in a selfie-obsessed Instagram/Facebook/tweeting world where everyone, from newborns to people in their 90s are being snapped and ‘papped’ for the internet.

Being influenced by celebrities is nothing new and neither is wanting to look older if you’re a teen or trying to hold back the years as you get older. The popularity of reality TV especially has tapped into a market where everything the ‘real’ people on screen do or say is immediately followed and picked up by their millions of fans.

Whereas in the 90s a famous sketch on the BBC’s award-winning Fast Show was called ‘Does My Bum Look Big In This?” it has now become ‘Does My Bum Look as Big As Kim or J Lo?

As well as endless – and expensive – cosmetic surgery procedures there is now a profusion of treatments, creams and gadgets on the market that promise to turn you into a glamorous beauty.

Many high street hairdressers, an industry already unregulated, now offer so many additional services on top of the more traditional:

  • hair dyeing
  • perming
  • straightening
  • extensions
  • sunbeds
  • fake spray tanning
  • manicures
  • false nail treatments
  • eyelash treatments
  • hair extensions
  • botox
  • fillers
  • teeth whitening
  • IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments

The list just keeps growing!

It’s not only women who want to look their best and don’t mind  paying for some extra help; men have gone way past just a bit of moisturiser and you’re as likely to see an immobile male actor’s face on screen as you are an ageing actress’s.

While making treatments available to everyone however large or small their budgets might seem fair, unfortunately for a lot of consumers the beauty industry is fraught with dangers that most people aren’t aware of until it’s too late.

There is, of course, tremendous pressure on young people particularly and every day you read stories of cyber bullying and see tragic pictures of beautiful young people who have harmed themselves because they think they are too ugly or too fat. There is a dark side to the beauty industry and none more so than when the damage is not self-inflicted.

Bodged beauty therapy is nothing new – magazines on and offline are full of pictures and stories of celebrities and ordinary people who have suffered damaging results in their quest to improve their faces and bodies and hold back the ageing process.

While the most extreme botched jobs tend to be on the cosmetic surgery front, especially when people travel abroad to save money and are treated by unqualified or unlicensed practitioners, there are many horror stories of victims in the UK who have been damaged by even the most relatively simple procedures.

  • What should you do if something goes wrong with a treatment?
  • Where do you stand legally?
  • What action can be taken?
  • What should you do straight after the treatment if it has immediately gone wrong?
  • How much will this cost you?

Deborah Saini, Head of the Personal Injury Department at leading and award-winning law firm Pictons says “Suffering an injury from any kind of beauty treatment is traumatising, not only from the pain aspect but also emotionally.

“We are seeing clients from every age group including younger girls who are demanding access to the latest treatments from their parents. When mistakes or accidents occur it can have long-term catastrophic effects on the family as well as the individual.

“The most important thing for any victim of a botched beauty treatment, whether that’s ruined hair, burning wax or something with lasting effects, is:

  • To get medical advice as soon as possible
  • Take pictures of the damage
  • Record the date
  • The time
  • The location of where the procedure took place
  • Include the name of the practitioner.

The beauty industry is woefully unregulated– there are approximately 36,000 hair salons in the UK employing roughly 250,000 people, yet there are no laws to ensure that every practitioner is trained, qualified or experienced.

For hair treatments alone, customers are subjected to powerful chemicals and intense heat and consumers are at risk of serious injury if staff are poorly trained or just incompetent.

“With hairdressing or so-called beauty salons offering a vast array of different treatments you really have to be careful when you choose any procedure. Ideally, you will be referred by a friend or acquaintance whose treatment you admire but always ensure you find out what qualifications, if any, the practitioner has and most of all their experience.

“In terms of things to look for in a salon:

  • Ask whether they will keep written or computer records of what you’ve had done
  • Check if patch testing is offered before you have any treatments. It always should be

I always ask my clients these two things:

  • Was anyone timing the procedure for perming and colour?
  • Did they use a stopwatch?

‘Guesstimating’ how long the chemicals are on someone’s hair or body is a common problem which can have disastrous results.

I’ve even acted for the director of a bank who was having laser hair removal on his face and it went seriously wrong. He was devastated.

“You put a lot of trust in the hands of the person to whom you hand over responsibility for your face, hair or body. If during any treatment you aren’t confident that they know what they are doing or if you suffer from any unexpected intense pain or burning sensations you must ask them to stop before any serious damage is done.

With botched hairdressing particularly, if your hair is damaged or burnt it can take years and years to grow back which will greatly affect your confidence and self-esteem.

“If you have a complaint that the practitioner fails or refuses to satisfy then your best course of action is:

  • To speak to a personal injury solicitor to find out what your options are.
  • It will help you enormously if you have evidence of the damage
  • You have to prove that this was done to you by the practitioner.
  • Photos and medical assessments can really help your case.

“Although a number of MPs have raised the issue in Parliament of the problems within an unregulated beauty industry, so far even hairdressers only have to register voluntarily. There is also no law that insists that hair and beauty practitioners have to have Public Liability Insurance, although the best ones probably will to protect themselves, if not their clients.

We only hear about the worst cases but there must be thousands of people who are affected by beauty treatments which go wrong. I’d be happy to talk to anyone who feels they are victims of botched treatments to see if they have a case we can take forward and get them the compensation they deserve.”

If you have been a victim of any of the following, please contact Deborah Saini on 0800 302 9448, or check the website

  • Hairdressing Problems including: Hair Dye injuries; hair dye allergies; hair damage from bleaching; cuts or bleeding from a hair salon treatment; hair colouring injuries; any resulting hair loss or baldness; perm problems; afro or Caribbean hair damage; any infections or diseases picked up from the salon
  • Beauty Treatment Problems including: Beauty waxing injuries; bikini or Brazilian waxing injuries; any type of waxing burns; facial hair waxing issues; eyebrow waxing; eyelash tinting injuries; eyelash extensions; chemical peel damage; botox injuries; facial fillers injuries; injuries resulting from any injections.
  • Laser Treatments Problems includin: IPL (Intense Pulse Light); laser eye surgery damage; laser tattooing or scar removal injuries; lasered hair removal burns; damange from laser skin treatment
  • Body Treatments Problems including: Problems from sunbed tanning including burns; anti-cellulite treatment damage; nail salon injuries; pedicure and manicure infections; body or tongue piercing damage; tattoo problems; tooth whitening enamel damage
  • Cosmetic Surgery Problems including: Nose surgery issues; ’tummy tuck’ surgery damage; facelift surgery issues; eyelid surgery; breast enhancement or reduction problems; collagen treatments; skin treatments; injection injuries; liposuction; weight and fat loss surgery