Removing hair and shaping the eyebrows using hot wax is a delicate beauty treatment that requires considerable dexterity on the part of a beauty therapist. Many women are injured by eyebrow waxing procedures every year, mainly in situations where hot wax is applied to sensitive areas of skin by therapists lacking the skills and training to carry out the treatment safely.
It is important to assess the qualifications and experience of a beauty therapist before having an eyebrow wax performed, both to make sure the procedure is carried out successfully and achieves the desired results, and to minimise the risk of an injury that may be highly visible and cause pain, discomfort and embarrassment for a prolonged period of time.
A burn from overheated or spilled eyebrow wax can cause ongoing pain and disfiguring damage to the skin around the eye, as well as blistering and swelling. For this reason, beauty therapists must make sure that the wax they use is heated to the correct temperature, and that the waxing strips are removed from the skin at the right time. They must also take extra care when handling hot waxing products, as even a small drip of wax onto a client’s skin can result in a burn injury.
Furthermore, therapists must be extremely careful when removing the waxing strips from the skin, as if they are peeled off too forcefully or against the grain (the opposite direction to which the hair naturally grows), the skin may be torn and start bleeding, resulting in unsightly skin damage and the potential for scarring.
Beauty salons and therapists should treat eyebrow waxing burns immediately and appropriately, as well as provide advice on suitable aftercare to make sure the healing process begins straightaway and the wound heals as quickly as possible. Facial burns from waxing are more common than waxing burns to other parts of the body due to the sensitivity and delicate nature of the skin around the eyebrows.
While most first and second degree burns will fully heal in one to three weeks, failing to treat a burn properly can extend the time it takes to heal and unnecessarily leave scarring which may take a long time to heal.
The following five steps should be taken to quickly and effectively treat an eyebrow waxing burn:
1) Gently cleanse the burn and apply a cloth or flannel soaked in cold water for 20 minutes or so. Alternatively ice can be wrapped in a cloth or flannel and applied to the affected area in the same way (never apply ice directly to the skin). This will reduce swelling and the pain, which can be intense following a facial burn of this kind.
2) To minimise the risk of infection, antibacterial ointment should be applied, and if possible the burn should be covered with a dressing, large plaster or gauze. If the size and location of the burn makes it impossible to cover, the area should be cleaned regularly and kept under observation.
3) Aloe vera is perfect for treating first and second degree burns, as this natural substance contains therapeutic compounds which are both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, while its cool and soothing properties will also alleviate any stinging and pain. Aloe vera also boosts the circulation, which will accelerate the healing process.
4) The ongoing use of antibacterial ointment is recommended to prevent infection of the wound, while over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen will reduce pain as well as swelling due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
5) Any burn injury needs to be closely monitored, and medical attention may be required if the wound is red or swollen and does not appear to be healing within a week or two. Fluid oozing from the wound is a possible sign of infection which will require prompt medical attention. It is also important to keep the burn injury out of direct sunlight, and a sunscreen with high SPF protection should be used when sun exposure is unavoidable.
Professional beauty therapists are expected to show reasonable care and skill when treating clients, and should be well aware of the steps outlined above to treat an eyebrow waxing burn. A sensitive injury of this kind can be made considerably worse by inappropriate treatment and aftercare, and long-term scarring is a real possibility if a salon or therapist fails to provide the necessary care and advice to an injured client.
There are a number of other risks involved with eyebrow waxing treatments, the most serious of which is the possibility of an allergic reaction to chemicals and other ingredients contained in different waxing products. To detect any sensitivity and the risk of an adverse reaction, beauty salons must carry out skin patch tests on new clients planning to undergo eyebrow waxing procedures 24-48 hours before an appointment is scheduled. This involves a small amount of the waxing product being applied to the skin, which is then monitored for signs of irritation.
It is also critically important that beauty salons use equipment and instruments that are properly sterilised and maintain their premises in a suitably hygienic state to minimise the risk of clients contracting skin infections. A thorough medical consultation with prospective clients should also be carried out to identify any health issues or use of medication which could affect the outcome of the treatment.
Case Study 1
A recent client of ours was injured after an eyebrow waxing treatment left her with burned skin. Mrs G’s eyebrows were sore immediately after the treatment, and the following day her eyes were puffy and stinging. On looking in the mirror she noticed that prominent burn marks had formed on and around her eyebrows. Mrs G’s burned skin later became blistered and scabby, and she was advised by NHS Direct to seek medical attention at a walk-in clinic.
The burn marks around her eyebrows took over three months to disappear completely, and Mrs G felt embarrassed to go out during that time due to the deforming blemishes on her face, and felt additionally humiliated by the fact that the beauty salon refused to accept responsibility for the situation, with the owner refusing to return her calls.
Mrs G got in touch with Bartletts having read about a similar case we had handled on behalf of a client with burned skin from an eyebrow wax treatment, and we agreed to take on her claim on a no win no fee basis. We subsequently wrote to the beauty salon’s owners and their insurers, arguing that the burn marks on Mrs G’s face were either the result of the beautician heating the eyebrow wax to an excessively high temperature before applying it, or else she had left the waxing strips on the skin around Mrs G’s eyebrows for too long.
The treatment had therefore been carried out in a negligent manner, and the salon was liable for our client’s extensive and humiliating facial injuries. We were able to negotiate a compensation settlement with the salon’s insurers, and within a few months of starting her claim, Mrs G received a cheque for £3,750.
Case Study 2
A recent client visited a beauty salon to have her eyebrows and face waxed in advance of her daughter’s wedding. Immediately after the treatment was carried out, Mrs N’s skin was red and painful. The beautician recommended that she apply an aloe vera gel to soothe the skin and told her that the symptoms were entirely normal.
Mrs N was still in pain the same evening, and when she awoke the next morning, the skin on her eyebrows and upper lip was inflamed and sore. She saw her GP later the same day who diagnosed burn injuries caused by the hot wax applied at the salon, and informed her she was likely to be left with scarring that would take a long time to fully disappear. Mrs N was still able to attend her daughter’s wedding, but felt embarrassed and humiliated by her physical appearance that day, as well as when she returned to work to face clients and colleagues. Angry and upset about the situation, she decided to seek legal advice.
Mrs N contacted Bartletts Solicitors after reading about our firm’s experience with beauty treatment injury cases, and we subsequently agreed to represent her in a no win no fee compensation claim against the beauty salon in question. In correspondence with the salon, we argued that the beautician had failed to use reasonable care and skill when carrying out the treatment, as the wax had been prepared at a temperature that was high enough to cause serious burns to Mrs N’s skin.
Her burn injuries had also taken a significant toll on her confidence, which negatively affected both her personal and working life. A specialist doctor’s report confirmed the extent of Mrs N’s burn injuries, and the fact that she would be left with long-term scarring around her eyebrows. The beauty salon acknowledged liability for Mrs N’s injuries within a few months, and our client later received £4,750 from the parent company’s insurers.
Case Study 3
Ms F was left with burnt skin following an eyebrow waxing treatment at a beauty salon. The beauty therapist failed to carry out a skin patch test on Ms F, which should have identified the fact that she was allergic to ingredients contained in the waxing product. Ms F’s eyebrows and eyelids were itching immediately after the treatment, and her face swelled up overnight making it difficult for her to see properly, while the skin above her eyes was raw and weeping.
She was prescribed antibiotics and steroids after seeking medical attention, and was forced to take two weeks off work due to distress and embarrassment over her physical appearance. She was left with two large scabs on her eyebrows, and was informed that the marks they left would take months to fade, apart from the time it would take for her lost eyebrow hair to regrow.
Ms F complained to the beauty salon, and they passed her on to their insurers who offered her £500 in compensation, a sum she thought was totally inadequate. Ms F later engaged our firm to bring a personal injury claim against the beauty salon, and we wrote to their insurers stating that the therapist has been negligent in failing to offer Ms F a skin patch test, particularly as she was a new client.
Had the patch test been carried out properly, it would have revealed her pre-existing allergy to chemical ingredients in the eyebrow waxing product, and she would not have suffered an adverse reaction as a result. A report from a dermatologist confirmed the extent of Ms F’s skin damage, and because liability had already been accepted, we were able to swiftly negotiate a compensation settlement for our client totalling £3,350.
Case Study 4
Ms J made an appointment for an eyebrow waxing treatment in advance of her summer holiday with her family. During the procedure, the beauty technician spread the wax on too thickly, allowing it to cover skin on her upper eyelids. When the wax was removed Ms J noticed that the skin on her upper eyelids was red and inflamed, while her eyes were burning and streaming. The salon manager helped rinse Ms J’s eyes, and gave her some soothing aloe vera gel to apply, telling her this was a normal reaction due to the sensitivity of her skin.
Within 24 hours, Ms J had prominent burn marks on both eyelids, and her eyes were puffy and irritated. In the coming days, the skin on her eyelids began to crack and blister, and she saw her GP who provided steroid cream, burn ointment and painkillers to manage the symptoms.
Ms J was unable to go in the sun while on holiday with her family and was in constant pain during the trip. On her return, she contacted our beauty treatment injury team, having read about our experience in handling eyebrow waxing compensation claims on our website.
The representation we made to the beauty salon’s insurers on Ms J’s behalf highlighted the fact that the hot wax burns that our client had sustained were wholly the fault of the beautician who had applied the waxing product incompetently. A skin patch test should also have identified the extra sensitivity of Ms J’s skin, and the temperature of the wax should have been lowered accordingly. We were able to provide expert medical evidence supporting Ms J’s claim, and after a few months of correspondence we were able to negotiate a compensation settlement for her totalling £3,250.
Skin damage and allergic reactions caused by eyebrow waxing treatments are one of the most common types of beauty treatment injury that lead to claims against beauty salons.
Apart from the physical pain and harm, women who have been injured by eyebrow waxing treatments often find that the impact on their quality of life is the worst aspect, as disfiguring blemishes around the eyes can ruin holidays, special occasions and daily activities due to the embarrassment they cause.
If you have been injured by an eyebrow waxing treatment at a beauty salon, contact our female lawyers today for free and confidential advice. Our considerable experience in this area of law means that you are guaranteed the highest quality service standards and the best possible representation when it comes to negotiating the amount of compensation you will receive.