Complaints over botched beauty treatments rise

Consumer watchdog reports sharp rise in complaints over botched procedures

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 3:58am


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A woman paid a hefty bill to have her nose raised and get a prettier face. But she ended up with cheeks of different sizes and a loss of facial facial sensation.

Her case is one of a growing number of complaints about beauty treatments received by the Consumer Council and comes at a time when the government is considering greater regulation of beauty centre treatments after a client died.

The woman, identified only as Lam, said she had paid almost HK$13,000 for a "hyaluronic acid injection" treatment and was later diagnosed with nerve membrane damage.

The council said yesterday that such complaints had risen 37 per cent in the first 10 months of this year compared to last.

Consumers told the watchdog they were talked into having expensive, invasive procedures - including laser treatments and injections - the safety and effectiveness of which they knew little about. This turned out to be risky when 49 complainants, one of whom had paid HK$300,000, fell ill after the therapies.

The council said Lam had paid HK$988 on a website for a single injection to raise her nose bridge. She was talked into paying an additional HK$12,000 for three more doses to reshape both her nose and face.

Her nose and upper lip started to feel numb during the treatment, and the feeling lingered a week afterwards. Stiffness spread to her cheeks and teeth, and her cheeks became asymmetrical. She had lost 50 to 70 per cent sensation in her nose wings and cheeks.

For another woman, side effects of a HK$380,000 treatment ruined her wedding day.

A beauty salon recommended the bride-to-be receive whitening injections costing HK$4,500 each three days before her big day. Her cheeks became red and bloated, hot and painful for several days.

A third woman, Leung, paid HK$80,000 for a "platelet rich plasma" treatment plan in which blood was drawn from her body and injected into her face. Signs of allergies appeared after the fourth session, and the woman got a refund of HK$48,000 only after the council intervened.

"It's not worth taking risks with your own body. Many people do not know the names of the treatments, how they work, what side effects there could be," said Connie Lau Yin-hing, who is retiring as chief executive of the council after 38 years.