Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder, common in both women and men over the age of 30. It causes periodic spells of flushing and redness in the face, mainly affecting the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. This unpleasant and incurable condition routinely causes deep embarrassment, loss of confidence, stress, anxiety and depression. The cosmetic symptoms of rosacea can be improved by a range of treatments, depending on the severity of the condition, including both vascular laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) sessions. Multiple laser or IPL treatments will usually be required (between 3 and 6), spread out over a number of weeks to achieve the desired results and, if successful, the course of treatments will have a dramatically beneficial effect on a person’s appearance.
The safety and effectiveness of rosacea laser and IPL procedures depends mainly on the skill and judgment of the dermatologist, physician, therapist or technician involved in carrying out a course of treatments. Disfigurement to the face caused by rosacea may be made worse by a poorly performed laser or IPL therapy. Undesirable results include uneven areas of skin from indentations caused by fat displacement, and swelling, particularly under the eyes, that may take months to go down, causing deep distress and embarrassment. A person may also be left with uneven skin tone, such as when patches of skin are discoloured or darkened by hyperpigmentation, and unintended consequences of this kind may effectively disfigure a person for a lengthy period of time, and in a minority of cases permanently.
To avoid these types of scenarios, it is essential that a competent analysis is made of a prospective patient’s skin sensitivity prior to a laser or IPL treatment for rosacea. If a laser beam or intense pulsed light is too strong for a person’s skin, or if it is directed at the skin for fractionally too long, it may cause deep burns and scarring in highly sensitive facial areas. Competent pre-treatment assessment of a prospective patient and the technical skill of the therapist or technician carrying out the laser treatment are both equally important therefore, as small professional errors in either area can have disastrous consequences.
Mrs J booked a series of laser treatment sessions at a local clinic specialising in dermatology and vascular laser therapy, to reduce the appearance of visible blood vessels and reddened skin on her cheeks and nose caused by her rosacea. She was left with white marks on both cheeks from skin pigmentation changes, and the flushing, particularly on her nose, appeared to get worse in the weeks and months following the laser sessions. The clinic had not properly assessed the sensitivity of Mrs J’s skin, and because of this the course of laser treatments proved too intense for her skin type, leading to discolouration and increased redness on her nose. Mrs J complained to the laser clinic and therapist who carried out the treatment, but was told that side-effects of this kind were unavoidable, and that the effects should fade in a few months. Due to the cost of the rosacea laser treatment, and the damage that it had done to her skin, Mrs J subsequently decided to seek legal advice.
After evaluating Mrs J’s case, our beauty treatment lawyers agreed to take on her claim against the clinic on a no win no fee basis, and issued a letter of claim outlining the circumstances. We arranged an appointment with an expert dermatologist who confirmed the fact that Mrs J’s skin discolouration and worsened symptoms of rosacea were a direct result of the intensity of the course of laser treatments she underwent, and the fact that the cumulative amount of laser energy was enough to badly damage healthy blood vessels and cells under the skin on her face. The treatment had not been carried out in a reasonably competent manner, and the clinic had breached the duty of care they owed Mrs J as a customer. We were able to win an admission of liability from the cosmetic clinic and their insurers, and negotiate a compensation settlement totalling £3,750 on Mrs J’s behalf.
If you have been burned or left with blemishes to the face following laser or IPL treatments for rosacea you may be able to claim compensation from the salon or clinic where the procedure was carried out. Contact our female solicitors for free and confidential legal advice.