Women burned by cut-price ‘Gwyn­nie’ skin peels

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Char­lotte Wace

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.’

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