Teenager claims high-street eyebrow tint left her with chemical burns

A teenager who had a severe allergic reaction after having her eyebrows waxed and tinted at a high-street store has warned others to be careful when undergoing beauty treatments.

Ellie Goddard-Hyden, now 18, went to the in-store V9 Beauty eyebrow booth in Superdrug in 2018 to have her brows shaped and dyed darker.

But within hours the area was burning and itchy and two days later Ellie ended up in A&E after her face swelled up so much she could barely open her eyes.

She said nurses told her she could have gone blind and doctors diagnosed chemical burns caused by the beauty treatment.

Ellie, from Walsall, West Mids., said she was offered £2,000 compensation by V9 Beauty – but the company went bust before she received it.

Her once-bushy brows are now patchy and bare, and Ellie cannot have treatments to fill them in, as the incident has left her susceptible to allergic reactions.

‘You expect people will know what they are doing, but she waxed first, which opened up all the pores in my skin, so I got chemical burns from the dye,’ said Ellie, who is now a beautician.

‘I could have gone blind. Anything could have happened. I had to get through the rest of school feeling really worried about my eyebrows, which had been great before, and because I’ve become allergic to the products I can’t even have them fixed now.’

Ellie’s said her eyebrows had been tinted and waxed at other salons many times before she went for the treatment at V9 Beauty, in Superdrug, Walsall, in March 2018.

She went in after breaking her arm and becoming unable to draw in her brows with make up easily herself.

Ellie claims a patch test wasn’t done and the woman wrongly did the wax before the tint.

She added: ‘I would not have got the burns if she had done the tinting first. It happened because the waxing opens up all the pores in the skin. I didn’t know that then.’

Ellie initially felt fine during and after the treatment, but then her eyes began to feel itchy and it burned when she rubbed the skin.

The following day her brows were really red and sore, and when she woke up the next morning everything looked ‘fuzzy and dark’. She was in a lot of pain and could barely open her eyes.

Ellie added: ‘That was one of my worst moments. I was really really scared and shouted for my mum.’

She went to A&E later that day when yellow pus spots appeared on her brows which were blistering, and said doctors diagnosed chemical burns.

‘I could see from the doctors’ and nurses’ expressions that it was bad,’ she said.
‘The nurse said I could have gone blind.’

She was given a steroid cream, the pain got worse so her GP told her to use salt water to clean the wound, and she took antihistamines.

Ellie’s face was swollen for a week, and 90% of her eyebrows fell out. She still has bare patches where they have not grown back.

She felt so self-conscious about going back to school that she missed a GCSE exam and couldn’t wear make up until her prom nearly three months later, saying it was still noticeable then.

Ellie has since developed allergies to beauty products, including hair dye, which she said forced her to give up her job at a salon. But she has since done private training and runs her own business as a beautician, taking antihistamines if she comes into contact with any chemicals.

She had hoped to get her eyebrows filled with microblading – a kind of tattoo – but a patch test left a massive reaction. Ellie said she was offered a refund when she went to V9 Beauty soon after the treatment, but she declined.

She hired a solicitor and in September 2019 was offered a £2,000 settlement from V9 Beauty, she claims. But she said it was never paid and V9 Beauty went bust a year later with no insurance.

A spokesperson on behalf of Superdrug said: ‘We are saddened to hear about the experience that a customer had with an external supplier, V9 Beauty in 2018.

‘As soon as we were made aware, we carried out a thorough investigation with the supplier to understand this isolated incident and to ensure the standards of service we expect are always met.

‘We would like to reassure our customers that we only work with suppliers that are fully insured and all beauty therapists that work with Superdrug are fully qualified across all of the treatments that we offer.’

How to avoid allergic reactions to dye

  • A previous black henna tattoo can cause a reaction next time you’re exposed to dye. Ensure you avoid these.
  • Always carry out a patch test beforehand.
  • Never dye on irritated (or recently waxed) skin.
  • Carefully rinse after dying.
  • Always follow instructions carefully.
  • Don’t leave on for longer than the recommended time.

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