The Price of Beauty

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Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

In order to be successful in bringing a claim for personal injury as a result of a beauty treatment you need to prove that the treatment was undertaken negligently by the therapist and that that resulted in injury to you.  Compensation will then be paid by the insurance company  of the salon where the therapist works or, if no insurance is in place, by the salon/ therapist themselves.

Set out below are a number of examples of situations in which individuals have been successful in obtaining compensation as a result of a treatment going wrong.

The Hairdressing Industry is currently unregulated which is worrying considering the chemicals that are used by hairdressers who potentially could be untrained and unqualified.   In 1964 the Hairdressers Regulation Act  was passed which had the intention of giving status to hairdressers and therefore assurance to consumers but this has not had the desired effect.The Act established the Hairdressing Council to maintain a registrar of qualified hairdressers. However, registration under this act is only a voluntary option. The Hairdressing Council estimates that only about 10% of hairdressers have registered. As the industry is unregulated and as no qualifications are needed to practice as a hairdresser there may be many that are holding themselves out as hairdressers without having any qualifications. These would not be eligible to register with the Hairdressing Council.   The Hairdressing Council does have the power to deal with complaints against any hairdresser that is registered with it which offers a little more assurance in this unregulated profession. You can search for your local state registered hairdresser online.Sadly however there are a number of cases that have been reported on Lawtel where individuals have suffered an injury as the result of negligence of a hairdresser:

- In the case of K (A child) v Regis International Limited (2007) the claimant was a 15 year old girl who went to the hairdressing salon owned by the Defendant for a perm. A strand test was carried out but no skin test. In actual fact during the treatment three chemical treatments were applied which were stronger than the previous treatment. As a result the claimant suffered hair loss for a period of 2 months and a small amount of scaring on her scalp.  Although liability was disputed by the Salon the matter settled out of court for £4,500.00.
 - In the case of Smith v Rattray Trading as Hype Coiffure (2005) the Claimant underwent a hair relaxant treatment at a salon specialising in Afro-Caribbean hairdressing.  The chemicals that were applied to the hair were not washed out following the treatment meaning that she suffered a minor chemical burn to the front of the scalp and coarse and dry hair on the  hair line    The salon attempted to treat the problem by attaching artificial hair to her head using glue. When this was removed clumps of hair came out with it. She therefore also sustained bald patches to the front, side and back of the head. Within 6 months the hair had re grown to an extent the Claimant was able to have braiding to hide the patches. She was awarded £4750.00 or £5975.81 RPI adjusted.
 - In the case of Meletti v Lane (1999) the claimant was a 37 year old woman who went to the Defendant Salon for a perm. The solution was incorrectly applied and she sustained irritant dermatitis on her neck, face, forehead and scalp together with burning scalp syndrome.  She fully recovered from the dermatitis within 18 months of the accident but had ongoing symptoms in relation to the burning scalp which the Judge at a final hearing found that she had suffered from for a period of 5 years. She was awarded £4,000.00 which RPI adjusted is £5,908.37.
Laser treatment/ hair removal/ microdermabrasion
These treatments have become a lot more popular over the past few years. These can result in injury as a result of the negligence of the therapist in, for example, failing to carry out patch tests prior to treatments or setting the lasers too high before use which can result in burns.
 - In the case of O v Renew Medica Limited (2010) (Lawtel) the Claimant was a 30 year old woman who underwent laser treatment to an area above her buttock.  The therapist marked the area for treatment with a pen and then passed the laser over it. As this area was darkened it meant that a larger amount of the treatment was absorbed making the epidermis break down and resulted in tattoo like marks being left on the Claimants skin.
Liability was admitted.  She was left with two pigmented lines of 280mm by 3mm and 50mm by 3mm long. She was able to cover this using camouflage make up but was embarrassed by its appearance. She was awarded £7,600.00 and her Solicitors estimated that around £5600.00 was on account of the scaring.


Waxing treatments can go wrong if for example the therapist negligently omits to carry out a patch test prior to waxing or uses a product that is too hot.  - In the case of   E (A Child) v The Crop Beauty Salon (2012).  The Claimant was a minor; she was 16 at the date of the accident and 17 when the case was concluded.   She went along to the Defendant's salon to have her eyebrows waxed. When she left after the treatment she noticed that her eyebrows were still burning and by the time she had got home her eyebrows were swollen. She went to her local Accident and Emergency Department where the doctors diagnosed her with an allergic reaction. The salon admitted that they were at fault. Her symptoms lasted for 2 to 3 weeks and she was awarded £1000.00 on account of her injuries in an out of court settlement.

Top tips

 - In short when you go for a beauty treatment ensure that the salon that you use has a clearly displayed certificate of public insurance. You can request to see the qualification of any therapist that provides you with treatment to ensure that they have specific training to enable them to provide the service that they advertise.

 - In the event that something does go wrong ensure that your concerns are reported to the salon both orally and in writing and that an accident report form is completed.  You can request a copy of your treatment notes. Make sure that you seek medical attention from your GP who then can refer you for further treatment if required.

Ruth Johnson

Personal Injury team

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