Feel the benefit of beauty treatments, avoid the hazards

Simple steps can prevent potential hazards of waxing, spray tans, and laser hair removal

Women apply, spray, inject, glue and wax in an effort to look beautiful, but they need to know the potential hazards of these treatments before spending a lot of time and money on beauty regiments.

Nancy Swanson said she picked up Hepatitis B from a pedicure. The serious liver infection turned her skin yellow and made her gravely ill.

"My liver was shutting down," said Swanson.

Dr. Stacy Chimento is a dermatologist who said other infections like staph and MRSA can spread during a visit to the salon.  

"A lot of times, you have some of these various bacteria that grow within the actual pedicure bowls," said Chimento.

That bacteria can enter the body through openings in the skin. Chimento said never have a pedicure if you have cracked heels or an open wound, bring your own instruments, and ask about how your salon sanitizes.

"Our nail tech, he sterilizes all his tools that he works with," said Dorothy Haar of Starbutts Tanning, Nail and Wax Salon.

Spray tans are a popular beauty trend, but new research shows they may not be all that safe. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania exposed live cells to DHA, the key ingredient in spray tans. They found the chemical caused genetic changes in the cells.

"So, we're still not exactly sure how this affects the human body," said Chimento.

The recommendation is to wear protective eye wear, lip balm, and nose plugs so the chemical does not get inhaled or ingested.

"I also use the little nose plugs to put inside my ears," said Haar.

Artificial eyelashes are another potential beauty hazard. Carola Parmejano said she applied them at least once a week for six years.

"For me, it became an addiction because it looks so good on camera; it looks so good on pictures that I said I cannot live without it," said Parmejano.

The lashes caused a bad infection in her eye, which is still irritating.

"My eyes were just totally red," said Parmejano.

Applying the glue too often can also rip out your own lashes and cause permanent  hair loss.  

When waxing, make sure the wax is not too hot.   If the wax is too hot, Chimento said it can cause burns, permanent scarring and discoloration.

Double-dipping the stick can spread bacteria in the pot and cause infection. Also, never wax if you have a cut or open sore.

Chimento warns about the dangers of numbing cream if using laser hair removal.

"It can sometimes cause some particular side effects that can be deadly," said Chimento.

Two women who applied the cream and wrapped their legs with plastic to enhance the effects died.   In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory to alert the public about the potential hazards of skin numbing products known as topical anesthetics for cosmetic procedures.  For more information on the agency's warning, click here.

Chimento said only apply the cream under doctor supervision, use as little as possible, and only apply it to small areas.

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