The Price of Beauty? How To Claim Compensation If A Beauty Treatment Goes Wrong

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Do you remember the film, The Graduate?  It may surprise you to learn that Anne Bancroft was only 35 when she played the iconic role of bored housewife, Mrs Robinson (Dustin Hoffman was 29 years).  By todays standards, most people would agree that although Anne Bancroft was a stunning woman, she looked much older than most 35-year-old actresses appear today (think Elisabeth Moss and Rebecca Hall).

Not only are most people taking a greater interest in diet and exercise, non-invasive beauty treatments provide an opportunity for men and women to hold back the years without going under the knife.

Examples of non-surgical beauty treatments include:

  • Botox and fillers
  • Laser treatments and IPL
  • Teeth whitening
  • Eyebrow tattooing
  • Chemical peels

And then there is also the grotesquely named vampire facial, which made headlines last year when it became known that Kim Kardashian West was a fan (she also posted a photo of her blood-spattered face on Instagram)[1].  According to a Beverly Hills dermatologist, the treatment is a “combination of a microdermabrasion, followed by the application of PRP (platelet-rich plasma).  PRP is derived from the serum portion of the blood, which contains platelets. The platelets contain high levels of growth factors, which, when applied to the skin, will stimulate cell turnover.”  In other words, your own blood is used to activate healthy skin cells[2].

Although it may be assumed that non-surgical beauty treatments carry a lower risk than an operation, horrific damage can be done if the person performing the procedure is inexperienced and/or negligent.

Cases where beauty treatments have turned ugly

In 2015, a designer in her 20’s was left scarred for life after having a laser treatment to brighten her skin.  She told a newspaper that the lasers burned her skin so badly she was left screaming[3].  Experts stated that the burns she suffered were so deep, they irreversibly damaged the glands underneath.  She also developed painful cysts, probably as the result of an infection from the burn.

Lip fillers can also cause terrible pain and suffering if the recipient of the procedure has an allergic reaction.  In January 2018, The Mirror reported the case of a young mother who suffered a reaction to the filler used and was left with “rock hard, cracked, peeling, leaking lips”.  In addition, she suffered “excruciating pain” and was unable to eat or drink[4].

Reasons why non-surgical beauty treatments go wrong

The are many reasons for non-surgical beauty procedures to go wrong, including:

  • Your treatment may be performed by someone who is inexperienced
  • A proper consultation may not have taken place. This should always be done to ensure you are 100% aware of any possible side-effects from the treatment
  • The person who performed the treatment did not undertake a ‘patch test’ to check for any allergic reactions 48 hours prior to the procedure being done
  • There was inadequate follow-up care

How you can protect yourself from a botched beauty treatment

To protect yourself from negligent beauty treatments, make sure:

  1. The clinic performing the procedure has a good reputation and is registered with the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology. You should also check they carry adequate insurance.
  2. You receive a consultation prior to the treatment. This should last around 45 minutes and will cover all of the risks associated with the procedure.
  3. A patch test is done 48 hours prior to the treatment to check for any allergic reactions.
  4. Your beauty therapist has a minimum of a Level 3 qualification.

What to do if you do suffer a personal injury as a result of a non-surgical beauty treatment

If you receive a non-invasive beauty treatment and it goes wrong, you may have a claim for compensation on the grounds you received a personal injury.  The first step is to contact an experienced personal injury solicitor.  They will examine the details of your case and see if you have a valid claim.  To assist them, make sure you take photographs of your injuries and have a copy of your medical records.  Your solicitor may engage an expert to examine your injuries, so it can be established whether negligence on the part of the beautician caused them.

It is crucial you speak to a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible, as compensation claims normally must be made within three years of the negligent treatment occurring.

In summary

Injuries from beauty treatments can affect not only the physical appearance of the victim, but their confidence and mental health as well.  It is not unusual for victims of botched non-surgical treatments to suffer from depression, anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Claiming compensation can help fund treatment to repair the physical and mental damage that you have suffered, and pay for any lost wages and/or opportunities due to the negligent treatment you have received.

Bennett Griffin are award-winning solicitors based in West Sussex with offices in central Worthing and Ferring.  Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered and practical manner.  If you require legal advice, please contact us on 01903 229 999 or by email at for more information.

The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.


[2] Ibid