DESIGNER Georgie Aves had a facial treatment to brighten up her skin – but was left scarred for life when the £1,200 procedure went horribly wrong, according to The Sun. The lasers that were used burned her face until she screamed.
The devastated design consultant from Rotherhithe, South East London, says: “When I first saw the extent of the da mage I was scared and felt totally helpless. “I could barely look at my face without breaking down in tears. “Now I just can’t believe this has happened. I’m angry the clinic are taking no responsibility for what they have done.
“I’m finding it really hard to sleep and can’t imagine ever going on a date or meeting anyone new. I don’t find myself pretty, how on earth will anyone else? “I think this treatment should be banned — it has ruined my life.”
Non-surgical cosmetic procedures including laser skin treatments fall into a grey area in the UK. There is no registration scheme for businesses offering cosmetic treatments and laser procedures, which means they are unregulated.
Georgie looked into facial treatments after reading about them online. She says: “I didn’t have spots or scars on my face at the time. “I started Googling face peels after I heard Nicole Scherzinger had one. “I started to notice small things about my face, like little lines and tired circles. I wanted to freshen up.
“I stumbled across the website for the Harley Street Skin Clinic and was impressed it said they were award-winning. They felt like a safe option.”
In May last year, Georgie attended her first consultation for a chemical peel. The procedure involves applying a solution to the skin to make it blister and peel off. After telling staff what she wanted, they advised that a CO2 laser treatment would be more suitable. They claimed the £1,200 procedure would remove the top layer of her skin, taking 20 minutes per session.
She says: “I asked to see one of the doctors so they could talk me through the treatment and any side effects. “But it felt like I was rushed through the consultation. I cannot remember being asked any medical questions. They made it seem like it was nothing to worry about.” After agreeing to go ahead, Georgie visited the central London clinic on July 2 to start the first of three procedures.
She says: “I felt a slight burning when the laser etched across my face. Afterwards I was told I’d experience mild scabbing and was given a moisturising cream.” The clinic advised her to avoid the sun and wear factor 50 protection cream, which she did. But Georgie says: “Two weeks after the treatment my minor scabbing had intensified and layers of my skin started to peel. It was like a scene from a horror film.
“The next day I woke up with cysts all over my face.” Georgie made a panicked call to the clinic. But she says: “They told me not to worry and to take antibiotics.” Four weeks later, she returned for her second appointment. She says: “The doctor was shocked and refused to do the second laser treatment. “I was told to come back 18 days later when the inflammation had gone down.”
On August 20, Georgie visited the clinic, with her skin covered in painful cysts. She says: “The consultant looked at my skin and said: ‘Let’s go over it.’ “This time it was unbearable pain. I asked him to stop but he kept saying: ‘Bear with it.’ I complained straight away.”
Back home Georgie was in excruciating pain and decided to book an appointment with the clinic for the start of September. She says: “My face was red, covered in cysts and so painful but they told me nothing had gone wrong and to just wait for it to subside. I went back again in November and refused to have my final treatment but received no refund or compensation. I didn’t even get an apology.”
For the next six months Georgie treated her face with creams but with no effect. Her confidence was so badly knocked that she split from her long-term boyfriend. She says: “I was always outgoing and fun-loving. Now I hate to show my face. The cysts are extremely painful.”
Georgie has sought the help of a solicitor to look into the case. She says: “Even if just one person is burned like me from this treatment, I think it should be banned. I really hope I can get some compensation, but no amount of money will help me get over this.”
Dr Marc Pacifico, a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “This is shocking. C02 lasers work by lightly burning the skin and this can help facial rejuvenation or scars and lines. “In this case it seems Georgie has suffered a very deep burn, most likely a result of the laser equipment not being used properly and on the wrong settings.
“I am shocked that the clinic suggested this treatment to someone so young and with no skin problems. “Georgie’s cysts are probably due to an infection caused by the deep burn. The burn has interfered with deeper glands in the skin. “She should see a dermatologist. It might be a course of antibiotics or other treatments that will help her.”
Harley Street Skin Clinic said: “Before patients undergo treatments they attend at least one consultation, where treatment options are discussed in addition to treatment outcomes and possible side effects. “No treatment is risk-free or guaranteed. All our patients also sign consent forms confirming that the clinic never guarantees the outcome of a treatment and that every patient is different.
“A very small number of patients will not be satisfied.”