During light, medium and deep chemical skin peel treatments acidic solutions are applied to the face, burning skin cells and stripping away outer layers of skin, reducing the appearance of blemishes, such as acne scars and liver spots, as well as the natural signs of ageing. Glycolic acid is the principal chemical used for light skin peels, while intensive deep skin peels use phenol (carbolic acid).
The stronger the acid used the more likely it is that a person will suffer an adverse reaction to the treatment. This means the risks are highest where salons and clinics are using higher strength but lower grade skin peel products.
Yes, because the application of acidic chemical solutions to sensitive facial areas means that skin peels will always to an extent be inherently risky procedures. The varying strength of skin peel treatments, and the distinct balance of acidic chemicals used in each one, makes it imperative that salons and clinics carry out proper pre-treatment checks. Clients should undergo a skin patch test and medical consultation, ideally 48 hours before a procedure, to identify individual sensitivity factors and the likelihood of an adverse reaction. An accurate professional assessment should then determine how the treatment can best be carried out safely to achieve the desired results.
The most serious risks involved with chemical skin peel treatments are burns to the face, scarring, and potentially permanent changes in skin pigmentation (especially for those with darker skin types). If the acidic solution that is applied to a person’s face during a skin peel treatment has too strong a concentration, or if it is left on the skin for too long, it can cause chemical burns, skin damage and changes in pigmentation (colour). Human errors include practitioners failing to follow product instructions and not monitoring patients properly. When negligence of this kind leads to an injury, there will be strong grounds for making a claim against the salon or clinic.
Sometimes compensation payouts can be high, as the injuries caused by botched chemical skin peel treatments can be disfiguring for an extended period and emotionally devastating. With moderate to severe burns, skin on the face will often swell, turn red, and break out into weeping blisters, as the skin continues to shed layers. Blisters may then form scabs and scars which can take months to heal, and will be prone to infection during that time. Such injuries can detrimentally affect every aspect of a person’s life. Compensation awards will take into account the physical extent of an injury, how long it takes to make a full recovery, the emotional repercussions, loss of earnings and the cost of corrective medical treatments.
Ms C had a glycolic acid light skin peel carried out at her local beauty salon, with devastating results. The formula used by the salon was far too strong for Ms C’s sensitive skin, and the beauty technician failed to properly monitor the reaction of Ms C’s skin during the procedure. Ms C was left with painful burns to her face, and further symptoms of a negative reaction. She is now facing skin graft surgery to prevent permanent scarring. Ms C had asked whether she should have a skin patch test carried out prior to the procedure, but the salon had advised her that it was unnecessary as the skin peel formula they used was very mild.
We represented Ms C in a compensation claim against the owners of the beauty salon. We argued that a properly conducted skin patch test at least 24 hours before Ms C’s appointment would have identified the extreme sensitivity of her skin, and would have prevented the negative reaction that she experienced. The beauty technician had used a skin peel formula that was far too strong for Ms C’s skin type, and this had caused the latter’s injuries. This was a clear breach of the duty of care that the salon owed Ms C, to carry out her treatment in a reasonably competent manner. The salon’s insurers accepted liability, and Ms C received £3,300 in compensation.
If you have been injured by a chemical skin peel treatment at a beauty salon or cosmetic clinic, contact our female lawyers today for free, confidential advice. Our experience in beauty and cosmetic treatments injury claims means that you will have the best possible representation when it comes to negotiating a compensation settlement.