It was meant to be a birthday surprise, but things went horribly wrong for Emmerdale’s Katie when a beauty treatment left her with a burning, inflamed face.

Chances are, some viewers can relate to how she felt, too – it’s not uncommon to suffer a nasty reaction to beauty treatments.

Even something as seemingly straightforward as a wax can sometimes result in scarring and torn, infected skin.

Of course, treating yourself to a pedicure, facial or new hair colour doesn’t have to be seen as a danger zone. But it certainly pays to do a little research and not to be tempted by cheap, backstreet deals.

Here’s why…

Hair dyes

We’ve all seen news stories where some poor unfortunate soul has had a nasty reaction to a home hair dye kit. Hoping for vibrant, glossy locks, they’d ended up with a horribly puffed-up face, looking like they’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

The truth is that none of us know when we might suffer an allergic reaction and absolutely anything could trigger it – not just cosmetics.

Hair dye

All dye kits should come with a warning; this is why you do a patch or strand test if you’re dying your hair or using a new product for the first time.

Allergies aside, some chemicals in dyes have also been linked with an increased cancer risk. Last year, British scientists warned that secondary amines found in dyes could, when reacting with other substances over time, form highly poisonous N-nitrosamines which are banned in cosmetics due to their carcinogenic properties. The scientists said more research was needed to quantify the risk.

Eyelash extensions

There’s no denying that thick, long, fluttering lashes look gorgeous. But a sore, gungy, red, puffy eye is not so fetching.

A report warned last year that some lash glues contain formaldehyde, which can cause a nasty reaction in people allergic to it.

There’s also a risk of infection due to excess bacteria building up in the glue and lashes – a particular concern when it comes to delicate eyes which can be easily damaged if infections aren’t treated properly and quickly.

Protect your peepers by opting for hypo-allergenic glues, always follow care instructions, keep the eye area clean and don’t leave falsies in for longer than advised.

[Related story: Emmerdale: Katie's shock treatment at the salon]

Facial peels

Chemical peels often work by removing the top layer of skin, smoothing out fine lines and blemishes and boosting collagen in the process, in the hope of ending up with a new, plump, glowing complexion.

Facial peel

But too many peels can do the opposite – experts say that frequent peelers risk damaging their skin, possibly resulting in additional lines, broken veins, acne and discolouration.

There’s also a chance that you’ll suffer an allergic reaction. Best advice? Do your homework first, weigh up the pros and cons, only ever go for treatment with properly qualified and authorised clinics – and remember, less is always more.


The craze for waxing ‘down there’ might seem unstoppable, but it probably should stop.

Many experts say the procedure should come with a health warning, and a study published in the US medical journal JAMA Dermatology found that waxing could be linked to an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

Removing pubic hair can cause 'deficits in the mucocutaneous barrier' - the membrane of the skin - allowing viruses or bacteria to enter the body.

Even if that doesn’t happen, there are other endless infections that could creep in, from impetigo, cellulitis and even ringworm.