Women burned by cut-price ‘Gwynnie’ skin peels
WOMEN have suffered horrific burns after using cut-price chemical peel beauty treatments sold on eBay.
Legitimate chemical peels – favoured by stars like Gwyneth Paltrow – cost up to £1,500 when applied by a qualified beautician and usually involve applying a weak dilution of acid to remove blemishes.
Legitimate chemical peels for home use are also available but rogue manufacturers, mostly in the US, are offering products costing as little as £11 and in some cases containing 100 per cent pure acid. Some of the products, including the treatment pictured right, contain trichloroacetic acid (TCA), a chemical banned for use in cosmetic products in Britain.
Yet The Mail on Sunday was able to purchase the substance – sold as ‘a medical-grade chemical peel’ – for just £11.46 on eBay.
The seller boasted that the peel is ‘great for skin lightening’ and could improve ailments such as acne, age spots and fine lines. Hannah Smith, of Wiltshire, was left ‘in agony’ after a TCA product bought on eBay had ‘eaten away’ at her skin. She was told by her doctor she was lucky not to need surgery.
‘It was a starter kit, so it wasn’t meant to be dangerous,’ said Ms Smith, 23.
‘But within seconds, it felt like my face was on fire. There were lesions eating away at my face. I couldn’t go to work for nine days.’
Campaign group Safety In Beauty founder Antonia Mariconda said: ‘We have had 27 reports of chemical peels going wrong in the past 12 months alone – it is a huge concern for us.
‘Just don’t think about doing anything yourself. Always see a professional.
‘We have even had people buy them from car boot sales – I would compare it to going to a casino and taking a gamble. Lives can be devastated. People might think they are just skin products, but the injuries can be tantamount to an acid attack. Even the lightest peel can do long-lasting damage.’
Last night, an eBay spokesman said: ‘This type of item is prohibited on our UK platform and will be removed.’
A Department for Business spokesman said: ‘The use of trichloroacetic acid is banned for use in cosmetic products and Trading Standards have powers to take action where a product is found to be unsafe or otherwise unlawful.’