Monday, 30 June 2014

Legal News: The increasing trend for beauty treatments & an increase in claims when it all goes wrong.

The Daily Mail today contains an article about a 13 year old girl who suffered an allergic reaction to an eyebrow tint and is facing the possibility of being left with permanent scarring and loss of eyebrows. Unfortunately, stories such as these are becoming more frequent as the rise in high-street beauty treatments, and the total lack of regulation for beauty salons and therapists, has invariably led to an increase in the number of botched treatments occurring.
Despite the recession, the beauty industry in the UK continues to grow rapidly as new treatments come onto the market, such as eyebrow threading, tinting, lash extensions, laser hair removal, tooth whitening, manicures/pedicures, piercings, botox etc...

Worryingly, at present, anyone can establish themselves as a beauty therapist or open a beauty salon with little or no training. The beauty industry is still unregulated and unmonitored. Standards and qualifications vary widely as there are no qualification requirements for beauty therapists, other than those set by individual salons. This can result in corners being cut and errors by undertrained or poorly qualified staff.
The majority of beauty treatments have the potential to cause harm to a person if carried out incorrectly. Frequent problems include failure to carry out a patch test, overheating the wax, spilling the wax, or using different products to the ones used during earlier treatments.

Skin patch tests should be carried out before any treatments involving the use of chemicals such as waxes, hair dyes or tints, glue etc.. and they should be carried out in good time (at least 24 hours) before any treatment is performed. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 requires all chemicals used in beauty treatments to be safely handled, stored and disposed of. Mishandling of these chemicals by untrained and inexperienced staff can lead to injuries such as chemical burns.
As a lawyer, I have acted on behalf of a number of clients who have suffered injuries as a result of negligence at the hands of a beauty therapist. Those clients all suffered disfiguring short-term symptoms such as burns, swelling, hair loss etc... and the less fortunate clients have been left with permanent scarring or permanent sensitivity to types of treatment. The one thing all of those clients have in common is their shock and disbelief that a simple beauty treatment could have such horrific and embarrassing consequences for them.
I am happy to hear that the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology ("BABTAC") are pushing for the introduction of voluntary regulation for the beauty industry. This would both increase protection for members of the public and give the industry and it's professionals a better reputation.
So, before treating yourself to any sort of beauty treatment, remember to as yourself some important questions such as: Were you given a patch test at least 24 hours beforehand?  Were you asked about your allergies?  Is the beauty therapist qualified/trained to carry out the treatment you want? What products are they intending to use?
Ginger Cat x

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