Many beauty salons offer facial bleaching (also known as skin whitening and skin lightening) treatments to clients who wish to achieve a more even skin tone, tackling blemishes such as acne scars and age spots. Others choose bleaching products to lighten facial hair or the overall tone of their skin.
Bleaching creams and solutions contain powerful chemical ingredients, which may cause severe damage to the skin and the body if used inappropriately. One of the most dangerous ingredients in bleaching products, hydroquinone, is banned in Europe, though a number of other components may also cause serious illnesses and allergic reactions among a minority.
One of the major problems with facial bleaching products is when they fail to achieve the expected and desired results, leaving a person with uneven skin tone or patches of skin discolouration. In some cases, the damage done to the skin may be irreversible, and a person’s appearance will be permanently altered as a result. The reaction of the skin to a number of ingredients in bleaching agents may cause these types of disfiguring injuries, as may acidic chemical burns. Bleaching agents can also lead to a condition called hyperpigmentation, where the body produces excessive levels of melatonin, making the skin appear blotchy. This condition may be permanent, and may spread from the face to other areas of the body.
The most hazardous ingredient in bleaching products is mercury (specifically mercury chloride and ammoniated mercury chloride). High levels of exposure can lead to mercury poisoning, with symptoms ranging from mild and temporary, to very severe and potentially fatal. Mercury can permanently damage internal organs, as well as a person’s central nervous system. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women, due to the amount of harm it can do to the future health of an unborn baby. In other cases, bleaching agent ingredients may trigger a mild allergic reaction, with symptoms including itchy rashes developing, swelling, particularly around the eyes, and temporary breathing difficulties. A more serious systemic allergic reaction will require immediate hospital attention, and may cause damage to internal organs or toxic shock.
Salons offering facial bleaching treatments must thoroughly check for allergies, and the possibility of a negative reaction, prior to a procedure being carried out on a client. This should involve testing the bleaching product on a small area of skin, ideally 24-48 hours prior to an appointment. Facial bleaching treatments must be carried out in a competent manner, to the standard one would expect from a fellow professional beautician. Where salons fail to meet this standard of customer care, it is often possible to claim compensation for injuries and illnesses caused by their negligence. On the conclusion of a successful claim, damages are paid out by the pubic liability insurance, that all commercial establishments are legally obliged to carry.
We have recently dealt with cases in which facial bleaching treatments have gone disastrously wrong for clients. In the resulting compensation claims we have recovered damages for pain and suffering, as well as medical and travel expenses and loss of earnings for time off work. Contact us today for free confidential legal advice from a specialist female solicitor.