Burns and scarring: Warning issued over home treatments

Fiona Clark

Warning issued over home use of peels and skincare devices as industry experts see a rise in burns and scarring.

Beauty industry experts have issued a warning to consumers about the risks of doing certain skin care treatments at home.

Chemical peels, derma rollering and tinting eye lashes and eye brows are among the procedures a panel of 25 industry experts have identified as causing serious and even permanent skin damage when used at home.

Scarring, burns and allergic reactions are just some of the skin problems they are seeing as more and more people buy home treatments online.

Chemical peels are one of the most dangerous causing blistering and burns, the group said in a press release in the lead up to this weekend’s Professional Beauty London, UK’s largest trade show for expert beauty practitioners, at ExCel.

Dr Rupert Critchley, GP and founder of Viva Skin Clinics in Harley Street agrees that the public should take care with these types of treatments. While the tendency these days is to order online, do it yourself and save some money, there could be long term costs.

“Using prescription strength or even regular chemical peels in a home setting is very dangerous. Clinicians often use a variety of ingredients and peel concentrations depending on skin type and problem. Without the suitable training, you could end up with not only worsening of your symptoms but potentially irreversible scarring and burns”.

Dr Unnati Desai, GP and founder of Urban Aesthetics in Knightsbridge says “buying products online is fraught with danger. Not only do you not know exactly what you’re buying but you haven’t been given the proper instructions on how to use it and you have missed out of the skin preparation you’d normally receive if you had a consultation with a skin care professional.”

She says using peels without the proper preparation and instructions can only cause burns but can also risk hyperpigmentation.

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When it comes to derma roller treatments Dr Critchley says they “should be carried out in a clinical environment by a suitably trained practitioner. Doing this at home can result in scarring and risk of infection. Derma roller types vary depending on area being treatment and problem, therefore not using the correct length needles can cause serious harm”.



Dr Desai adds: “The incorrect use of derma rollers means you run the risk of serious scarring including keloid scars and fibroids [benign growths on the skin]”.

“Home treatment protocols are fine if recommended by a professional in order to maintain results or to prepare for a treatment, but if they are done without supervision you could also miss out on some very good advice, such as wearing a sunscreen every day after a peel, or worse – you could end up with permanent skin damage”.

Her advice? “Why take the risk? Always consult a trained clinician and get the treatment that is right for you”.

The panel identified the following as the most worrying ‘home’ treatments (in order of concern): –

  • Skin peels(resulting in chemical burns to the skin)
  • Eyelash extensions(resulting in glue into and damage to the eye)
  • Dermal rollering(resulting in rollering too hard, causing scarring/infection)
  • Applying/removing gel-polish(resulting in burns to the skin and damage)
  • Bikini wax(resulting in burns and bruising to the skin/wax clumping and not being able to remove it)
  • Tinting brows/lashes(Resulting in skin reaction/allergy to the dye. Burn to the skin)

Like Dr Desai the panel recommends that clients should always to book treatments at a recognised salon where staff are fully trained on how to administer treatments and use equipment safely.

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