When British journalist Charlotte Cripps went to review a beauty treatment at a London spa for a newspaper story some three years ago, she didn’t have the faintest idea that she will come back scarred. Cripps had gone for Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment that uses light to enhance the complexion. The writer has recently got a five-figure amount as damages, but fears that she may be scarred for life.Beauty treatments can be devastating if conducted by unqualified therapists. Dermatologist say such incidents happen when swayed by glamorous ads, people approach private therapists for beauty fix-ups. "Sadly there’s no law to regulate such therapists. You can only approach the consumer court once the damage has happened," says Dr Sachin Dhawan, dermatologist, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon. Dr Nitin Walia, dermatologist, Max Healthcare says there’s no dearth of non-medical persons who use medical equipments that only a dermatologists or a plastic surgeon can handle. "They often cause damage to skin, which can at times be irreversible," says Dr Walia.
We tell you how to protect yourself from such dangers.
Some beauty fixes gone wrong...
* Joceyln Wildenstein, wife of art dealer Alec Wildenstein, is said to have spent £2million on silicone injections, brow lift, Botox, and lip implants. She was named the “World’s Scariest Celebrity” by AwfulPlasticSurgery.com due to her distorted looks.
* Singer Peter Burns had his lip implants removed that caused severe complications — swelling, blisters, discharge and lumps.
* A few years ago, a Delhi consumer court ordered a beauty clinic to pay compensation to a youth, who suffered severe rashes and bleeding after a laser treatment for removing excess body hair.
Avoiding beauty mishaps
Never go to a commercial clinic
Don’t rush to a parlour or a commercial clinic when you have a beauty problem. Look for an accredited dermatologist or a cosmetologist. Also, find out what quality of equipments the clinic or hospital has got.
Research about certifications
Find out about the reputation of the clinic/hospital, its track record, the qualification of its doctors and therapists, and how old it is. Dr Saurabh Malik, cosmetologist, Eleganza skin clinic says, “Ask if the clinic has any certification from American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, American Academy of Cosmetology, or any European Union certifications.”
Don’t go for cheap clinics
Some people shift their treatment midway to clinics that offer a cheaper package to save money. It can have disastrous outcomes as the treatment doesn’t remain consistent, and cheap treatments can also cause irreversible damage to the skin.
Limit frequency of treatments
Some people expect magic overnight. This can have a devastating impact. “Often brides-to-be go in for chemical peels once a week for a month. That can damage your skin. One should opt for treatments such as chemical peels only once in a month initially, and later once in six months,” says Dr Dhawan.
Always insist on patch tests: Whenever you go for a treatment, make sure that a patch test is conducted on your skin. “Some treatments can increase the sensitivity of one’s skin. Also, different people react differently to treatments. So, it’s crucial to conduct a patch test to know if your skin reacts negatively,” says Dr Walia.
Read about the procedure
Do thorough research about the treatment and read well about its side effects and possible consequences.
Microdermabrasion involves sprinkling aluminium oxide crystals to polish the skin.
It can leave red spots if not done properly. “Dermabrasion, that uses diamond tip to peel off the skin’s superficial layer ,can cause infection and permanent scars if done by an inexperienced doctor,” says Dr Walia.
Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal, if not done by an accredited therapist, can result in painful rashes and burn marks. So go to a reputed clinic. “Those offering hair removal at cheap rates can be indicative of unqualified therapists,” says cosmetologist, Dr Saurabh Malik.
Photo facials can cause hyper pigmentation in some cases. They can also result in burn marks that may lighten with time but they do not go away completely. Treatments such as IPL require expensive medical equipment that all clinics can’t afford. Doctors says that these treatments are also more suited for the skins of westeners.
Chemical peels such as glycolic acid peels, salycic acid peel or kojic adic peels, if used in higher concentration, can result in uneven skin tone. Some people even develop dark or white spots on their skin if not applied in the right way. “Peels may not suit all skin types, specially those who have a sensitive skin type,” warns Dr Malik.