Waxing Risks

March 19, 2009 8:26:59 PM PDT
Just last week, some lawmakers in new jersey proposed banning the Brazilian bikini wax after two women report being injured while getting the beauty treatment. Now there is concern at least from some about eyebrow waxing. It's a simple and very popular beauty regimen. But it does come with risks.

And dermatologists say there are things you should do to prevent problems. 21-year-old Shannon Boruch says like many scars do, the scar on her left eyebrow has a story.

But it's something she never thought could happen.

Shannon says she went to get an eyebrow wax at the Lovely Nails Salon in Westmont, New Jersey.

Then the next day she awoke with a problem.

"I woke up and all of a sudden my face was swollen," said Shannon Boruch.

Shannon said later it got worse.

She said she was vomiting and had a fever. So, she went to the emergency room.

Records show she was diagnosed with an abscess over her left eye. Doctors drained it and treated Shannon with IV antibiotics. But again the infection got worse and started to spread. This time records show cellulitis. That's deep inflammation that can be potentially deadly. "It hurt bad like I couldn't even raise my eyebrows," Shannon added.

Shannon was admitted to the hospital for more IV antibiotics. Dermatologist Dr. Tanya Humphreys of Jefferson University Hospital didn't treat Shannon, but says getting an infection from waxing isn't unheard of. "Because you can get an infection theoretically from any procedure no matter how minor that can cause little cuts and nics on the skin that provides an entry point for bacteria," said Dr. Humphreys.

But Dr. Humphreys adds it's difficult to say where the bacteria that caused Shannon's infection came from.

Dr. Humphreys says it could have been from her own skin, or it's possible the salon used dirty wax.

The owner of Lovely Nails declined to talk to Action News on camera.

But off-camera he told us the wax used in his salon is always kept clean.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs told Action News there have been no complaints filed against the salon this year or last year. Still beauty salons in New Jersey are not inspected regularly like they are in Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, they're inspected before opening and only again if there's a complaint. Salons in Delaware are only inspected if there's a complaint. " I think as a consumer, you need to be aware," added Dr. Humphreys.

And that is why Dr. Humphreys recommends the following advice if you go for beauty treatments.

First, make sure the salon looks clean and the technicians are licensed.

Also watch to make sure the technicians are washing their hands.

And always make sure the wax applicator stick is never re-dipped.

Because otherwise if you're putting it back in after it's touched someone's skin, even if it's your own skin that may cause a problem for the next person if you harbor some bacteria on your skin," added Dr. Humphreys.

"I'm going to have a scar on my face now b/c of an eyebrow wax, no one should go through this, no one," added Shannon.

Dermatologists also recommend if you do get eyebrow waxes wash your face beforehand. If you use products such as Retin A or glycolic products, it's better to skip waxing. As for the ban on Brazilian bikini waxes in New Jersey, the board of cosmetology will meet in April to discuss the proposal.

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