Complaints rise over cosmetic treatments

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 5:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 5:45pm

The number of consumer complaints in Hong Kong about cosmetic procedures that went wrong increased 37 per cent in the first 10 months of this year, compared with the same period last year, the consumer watchdog said on Thursday.

In some cases, victims were left with lifelong scars or medical complications, the Consumer Council said.

The council received 141 complaints about such treatments in the first 10 months of this year, up from 103 in the same period last year.

The invasive cosmetic treatments included plastic surgery, injections and laser therapies offered by beauty centres.

Last month, a woman died and three others were sent to hospital after receiving a blood transfusion “health treatment” at a Causeway Bay beauty chain centre. The incident prompted health authorities to tighten the supervision of high-risk beauty procedures.

The council said the complaints also involved beauty company staff using high-pressure tactics to get customers to sign up for expensive treatments, even though the customers knew little or nothing about the safety and efficacy of the procedures.

Some customers were not told whether beauty centre employees were well trained or qualified to administer the injections or operations, the council said.

Others complained about adverse effects such as prolonged numbness and skin redness, after treatment.

In one case, a woman ended up with unbalanced cheeks, and suffered numbness, after receiving an injection to raise the bridge of her nose.

A neurologist later diagnosed her with nerve damage, saying she had lost up to 70 per cent of sensation on the sides of her nose and cheeks and would take months to recover.

Another woman, a bride-to-be, received skin whitening injections at a beauty salon three days before her wedding. After the treatment, her cheeks became red and bloated, hot and painful.

She was told by a clinic associated with the beauty salon that the symptoms would disappear in one or two days, but they lasted until the eve of the wedding.

In a third case, a woman developed allergies after receiving a “platelet rich plasma” treatment. It involved 10 treatment sessions in which blood was drawn from her body and injected back into her face.

After the fourth session she was forced to give up the rest of the treatment because of allergies flaring up on her face.