Beauty waxing is normally performed on sensitive and fragile areas of skin on the body that are vulnerable to damage, and all waxing treatments, particularly intimate bikini waxes, have inherent dangers that can cause injuries including burns, blistering, torn skin, infections and allergic reactions. For this reason, waxing procedures must be carried out by properly trained, skilled and experienced practitioners. However, lack of regulation of the beauty treatment industry in the UK means that too often this is not the case.
Errors and omissions by beauty salons and technicians include failing to conduct skin patch tests on new clients 24-48 hours before an appointment is scheduled to check for possible allergies to wax ingredients or a different skin sensitivity issue. Where such mistakes cause an injury, the practitioner and salon may be found to have acted negligently, and compensation may subsequently be claimed from the beauty salon’s insurance company.
Most waxing procedures will be delicate due the sensitivity of the area skin that is waxed. Burns may be caused by a beautician applying wax that has been heated to too high a temperature, otherwise hot wax may be spilled onto the skin. The result in both cases can be damaged skin, pain, irritation, blistering, temporary scarring and the possibility of ongoing problems including ingrown pubic hair and infections of varying severity.
The other main injury type caused by waxing is tearing and cuts to the skin. This is most often due to a beautician removing waxing strips without supporting and pulling tight the surrounding skin properly, or else removing strips at the wrong angle (i.e. not parallel to the body). Tears can cause profuse bleeding, potentially requiring stitches, and damage to hair follicles. An injured person will be likely to feel embarrassed and humiliated by a waxing injury in an intimate area, and may also have a forthcoming holiday effectively ruined. These factors will be taken into consideration when calculating the size of a compensation award.
Bikini waxing involves the application of wax, and hair removal at the root, in and around the pubic region. Its popularity as a beauty treatment is based on three factors. Firstly, it is a relatively quick and simple procedure (roughly half an hour) when carried out by a competent, trained beautician. Secondly, unlike shaving and other removal methods, hairs will not begin to regrow after a waxing treatment for up to eight weeks. Thirdly, the treatment can help achieve permanent hair reduction as again, unlike shaving, hairs will grow back softer, finer and more sparsely following bikini wax treatments.
The least extreme form of bikini waxing is the basic bikini line (or American) wax, aimed at removing pubic hair that would otherwise be visible while wearing a bikini. Many women of all ages will have this regular form of bikini wax carried out in advance of beach holidays. Therefore, our lawyers do not see many women claiming compensation for American waxing injuries.
Probably the most popular form of waxing all year round is the Brazilian (also known as the French) wax, which involves the removal of all hair in the pubic area, as well as in between the legs and buttocks, leaving a triangular patch or thin strip of hair above the vulva, which is often referred to as a landing strip. This intimate form of bikini waxing is performed on skin around the vagina that is especially fragile and prone to damage. The skill and experience of the beauty therapist are therefore critical considerations for women intending to have a Brazilian waxing treatment carried out.
With increasing numbers of women electing to remove their pubic hair completely, the danger of infection from intimate waxing treatments continues to be an issue of concern for beauty salons and their clients. During hair removal treatments individual hairs are torn from the follicles, leaving tiny open wounds through which bacteria (as well as venereal diseases) can pass. Hollywood waxing procedures, during which the pubic hair is fully removed, pose a particular risk of an individual contracting a bacterial infection, since there is no hair left down below to offer any natural protection against bacteria, viruses and other foreign particles entering the body.
Cellulitis is probably the most common bacterial infection that individuals can contract from intimate waxing treatments. While cellulitis can be treated effectively with antibiotics, it is also a potentially life-threatening condition, as the infection has the capacity to spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream if left untreated. Cellulitis normally involves pain, discomfort, redness and inflammation in the genital region, as well as flu-type symptoms, including a temperature, dizziness, chills and pain in one or both thighs. It is essential for an individual to seek urgent medical attention if they develop symptoms of this kind following any type of waxing treatment.
The principal cause of bacterial infections such as cellulitis from bikini, Brazilian and (especially) Hollywood waxing is when a beautician ‘double dips’ the waxing spatulas, or in other words uses them on multiple customers, resulting in bacteria entering the wax pot from the skin of one customer and subsequently being transmitted to another. It is therefore essential that new spatulas are used at beauty salons to minimise the risk of cross infections. Burns from overheated wax can also cause skin damage that may result in an infection, emphasising the need for beauticians to monitor and control the temperature of the wax at all times. Finally, maintaining a high standard of general hygiene at a salon is critical to both preventing infections and ensuring customers return for repeat treatments.
Waxing treatment clients have a legal right to expect that the procedure will be carried out in a reasonably competent manner by an experienced and fully trained beauty technician. Errors and omissions during waxing treatments that cause an injury may be legally classified as negligence on the part of the beauty salon and its staff, and an injured client will subsequently be entitled to claim compensation.
Compensation awards for waxing injuries will reflect pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, which may be ongoing. The cost of corrective surgery, and any other financial outlay caused by an injury will also be awarded as 'special' damages. Injured persons may sustain financial losses through having to take a period of time off work, and this will also be taken into account when calculating compensation. Successful compensation claims have the additional benefit of driving up standards across the beauty treatment industry.
Beauty salons are expected to perform waxing treatments in a reasonably competent manner, and if a client is injured due to a beautician’s error there will be strong grounds for making a compensation claim against them. Contact our specialist team of female solicitors today for free, confidential and sympathetic legal advice on waxing injuries.
Miss Khan visited her local beautician with her friend for the purpose of having waxing carried out. Miss Khan’s friend had been using the salon for some time and had recommended that Miss Khan use the same salon when she said she wanted waxing carried out. Miss Khan was having waxing carried out to her upper lip area. Miss Khan’s friend was taken into a separate treatment room as she was having her legs waxed.
Miss Khan was taken into another treatment room. She had never had any waxing procedure carried out previously and did not advise the beauty therapist. The beauty therapist did not ask her whether she had undergone waxing previously and did not carry out any patch test to see if she had any adverse reaction to the wax.
The beautician started to apply the wax to Miss Khan’s upper lip area. The next thing she felt a burning sensation on her cheek. She immediately advised the beautician who said that she had by mistake dropped some wax onto her cheek but would remove it straight away. This wax was removed and the beautician carried on with the waxing of her upper lip. Following the treatment the beautician gave Miss Khan a mirror to look in to see that she was happy with the treatment to her upper lip.
Miss Khan was so upset when she looked in the mirror as she could see that the area of skin on her cheek was burnt where the wax had fallen. The area was very red, and Miss Khan was upset and started to cry. She was so upset that the beautician went to get the manager of the salon who advised Miss Khan that it would be alright, and gave her some gel to apply to the area to take away the redness. Miss Khan went straight home and was really distressed. The following day the area was blistered and very red and Miss Khan consulted her General Practitioner for advice.
As Miss Khan had dark skin pigmentation, when the area of skin eventually started to heal she was left with a pink discolouration to her cheek. Miss Khan was unable to go to work for a week and was in a lot of pain. She did not go out for the whole week until the blistering had gone down. She was due to attend a friend’s birthday party but decided not to attend as she felt conscious of her appearance.
Miss Khan decided to consult Bartletts Solicitors for advice. Miss Khan was concerned that she had not told the beautician that she had not had waxing treatment carried out previously and that she could be to blame herself. Bartletts Solicitors accepted the claim on a no win no fee basis and therefore Miss Khan was happy to proceed with a claim for negligence against the beauty salon.
Bartletts Solicitors on behalf of Miss Khan wrote to the beauty salon advising them that they were negligent in firstly not carrying out a patch test on Miss Khan’s skin, and secondly they were negligent in dropping the wax on her cheek during the waxing procedure. Liability in the first instance was denied by the insurers for the beauty salon but subsequently a full admission of liability was obtained from them.
Bartletts Solicitors arranged for Miss Khan to be seen by a specialist doctor to comment on the burning to her skin and the prognosis as to her recovery and whether, more importantly, the damage to her skin could be permanent. Fortunately, the specialist advised her that she was making good progress and her skin would completely heal over a period of time and she would make a full recovery and not be left with any permanent scarring.
On behalf of Miss Khan, Bartletts Solicitors recovered £3,000 in compensation for damages for personal injury for her pain and suffering. Bartletts also recovered Miss Khan’s loss of earnings for the week she was not able to work together with her travel expenses to see her General Practitioner for the initial advice. If you have had a similar experience please do not hesitate to contact a member of our personal injury team who will be more than happy to offer you advice in relation to a possible claim.
Hollywood Waxing Injury Claim
Ms W was having a Hollywood waxing treatment (also known as a full bikini wax) carried out at her local beauty salon, in advance of a summer holiday with her family. A trainee beautician had started work at the salon the previous week, and was detailed to perform Ms W’s waxing treatment. When the time came to remove the waxing strips, the beautician failed to make sure that the delicate skin around the labia was stretched tight enough, and used too much force in the removal process. As one strip was pulled off, Ms W’s skin was torn halfway down the length of her vagina, and began to bleed. Ms W was later forced to go to hospital, where doctors applied stitches to the laceration. Ms W was in pain for weeks following the accident, ruining her holiday and causing considerable emotional distress for a period.
Ms W was deeply upset by the whole incident and got in touch with Bartletts Solicitors on her return from holiday. On our advice, she decided to proceed with a compensation claim against the beauty salon that carried out her treatment. We wrote to them, pointing out that Ms W had had Hollywood waxes performed before without any problems. In this instance, poor technique on the part of the trainee beautician had caused the tear to Ms W’s vagina. The procedure had not been carried out in a reasonably competent manner, and this made the salon’s owners negligent and in breach of the duty of care they owed Ms W. The beauty salon’s insurers admitted liability relatively swiftly in this case, and Ms W received £3,250 in compensation.
Brazilian Waxing Injury Claim
Ms H visited a beauty salon for a Brazilian bikini waxing treatment in advance of a summer holiday with her family. As she was getting dressed after the procedure, she noticed that the waxed area of skin was quite painful, and later the same day she saw that red burn marks had appeared on her outer vaginal lips (labia). Ms H’s burn injuries began to blister in the days afterwards, and she also developed a rash on her skin. She saw her doctor, who told her that her skin damage was similar to friction burns, and prescribed flucloxacillin to prevent a bacterial infection, as well as E45 cream to soothe the affected area. Ms H was in constant pain and discomfort while on holiday, which was ruined as a result, and could not walk properly or wear underwear for days after the treatment. Having received no response to her written complaint, she decided to seek legal advice, and contacted the beauty treatment solicitors team here at Bartletts.
We subsequently agreed to represent Ms H in a no win no fee claim against the beauty salon, and wrote to the salon’s owners and insurers outlining the facts of our client’s case. We stated that the burns and blisters on Ms H’s labia were caused by the negligence of the beauty therapist, as they had failed to apply protective oil before waxing, causing the wax to stick to the delicate skin around the vagina and resulting in friction-type burn injuries when it was removed. The treatment had been poorly executed, and Ms H had suffered painful and humiliating injuries as a direct result. A reasonable standard of competence is expected of beauty therapists by law, and in this instance, the standard of care received by Ms E had fallen below this level. The salon eventually acknowledged liability for Ms E’s burn injuries, and she received £2,750 in compensation for the pain and suffering she had endured, as well as loss of enjoyment of her family holiday.
Lip Waxing Injury Claim
Ms S was having a waxing treatment performed on her upper lip at a beauty salon when an accident occurred. While leaning over Ms S, the beauty therapist spilled hot wax onto Ms S’s forehead, causing a burn. Ms S was in considerable pain, despite the soothing gel provided by the salon. She later saw her GP, who provided her with antihistamine cream, but her skin was still inflamed, blistered, and causing her irritation and distress days later. The burn injury on her forehead was so prominent that it made Ms S extremely self conscious, and she was unwilling to return to work until the wound had healed. She was also upset and angry at failing to receive more than a brief apology from the beauty salon.
Ms S decided to sue the beauty salon in question, and engaged Bartletts Solicitors to represent her. We wrote to the salon’s owners stating that the negligent actions of one of their staff had caused Ms S’s burn injury. The therapist had been chatting to a colleague at the time of the accident, and had not been paying sufficient attention to the waxing procedure. This had caused her to spill the wax on Ms S’s forehead. The salon had therefore failed to carry out Ms S’s waxing procedure in a reasonably competent manner, and was consequently guilty of negligence. The salon and their insurers accepted liability, and Ms S won £2,700 in damages.
Lower Leg Waxing Injury Claim
Ms A was having a routine lower half leg waxing treatment at a health and beauty spa when she was burned by hot wax that was spilled onto her skin by the beautician carrying out the procedure. She was in a lot of pain and saw her GP later that day, where her wound was dressed and she was prescribed painkillers. Ms A has dark skin pigmentation, and as the burn healed the skin around it became pink and discoloured. Many months later, Ms A was considering complicated skin graft surgery as the only option to make her lower leg appear normal again. Ms A complained to the beauty spa directly, but did not receive a satisfactory response. She was angry and upset that she had been injured through no fault of her own, and subsequently decided to seek legal advice.
Ms A contacted Bartletts Solicitors, and subsequently engaged us on a no win no fee basis to represent her in a compensation claim against the health and beauty spa. We got in touch with the parent company, stating that Ms A’s procedure had not been performed with reasonable care and skill, as the beautician would otherwise not have spilled burning wax onto our client’s skin. They had failed to meet the standard of care one would expect from a fellow professional in similar circumstances, and this constituted negligence. Ms A had been significantly and possibly permanently scarred by the accident, and this was ultimately the fault of the spa’s owners. After liability was established, Ms A received £4,500 in compensation from the spa’s insurers.
Underarm Waxing Injury Claim
Ms B was burnt by hot wax that was left on her skin for roughly double the normal amount of time by an inattentive beautician. She had applied the wax strips under Ms B’s arms and had then left her to speak to a colleague. By the time the beautician returned, Ms B was experiencing a burning sensation under her arms, and was in pain after the strips were removed. The salon’s manager was called to assist in bathing the affected area, and provided Ms B with some soothing aloe vera gel. Ms B had difficulty sleeping that night, and sought medical attention the following day. She was forced to take a week off work while she recovered, and was in constant pain and discomfort during that time. Having made a complaint, Ms B was offered a free voucher for a further treatment, but was dissatisfied with this response.
Ms B decided to seek legal advice. We went on to represent Ms B in her claim for compensation against the beauty salon’s owners, and wrote to them pointing out that the waxing strips should have been removed far earlier during the treatment, and that the failure to do so had caused the hot wax to burn the sensitive skin under Ms B’s arms. This was unreasonable behaviour on the part of the individual beautician, and the salon as a whole had negligently failed to protect Ms B from the risk of injury on its premises. After further correspondence, the salon’s insurers accepted liability for the accident, with Ms B later receiving £2,300 in compensation for her injury.