Many Bengalureans are going in for cosmetic procedures

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Many Bengalureans are going in for cosmetic procedures such as skin lightening and hair transplants, unaware that beauty parlours are not authorised to offer them.

The beauty and cosmetics industry are booming. A rise in disposable incomes and the influence of social media have led to heightened insecurities, especially when it comes to physical aspects. The need to conform to societal beauty standards has never been greater.

A simple Google search throws up hundreds of options for beauty treatments. It includes genuine, qualified dermatologists and skin experts, and less-than-ideal options. So how do you differentiate between the two?

Dr Rashmi Ravindra, consultant dermatologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, says parlours are good for simple procedures like fruit peel facials, but anything more advanced calls for medically qualified experts

For example, a chemical peel facial might cause problems for people with acne or pigmentation. Such people should not go to a parlour set-up,” she says. Some problems, like textural changes and tans, are seemingly simple, but often call for the intervention of doctors, dermatologists in particular.

She has seen some cases where acne was exacerbated after parlour treatments. Dr Praveen Chandra, cosmetic surgeon, Dr Sculpt Aesthetic Clinic, Indiranagar, says many come to him after botched parlour procedures. Failed treatments also lead to depression in some.

It is not illegal to buy equipment, and so many people have easy access. Doctors employ technicians and supervise them during procedures. Many technicians then use the little they know to offer treatments and make extra money,” he says.

Parlours offer services at one-fourth the price dermatologists charge, and many women go there to save money. “However, fixing complications costs you more time and money,” he warns. Dr Praveen Chandra says any treatments that involve injections such as Botox, fillers, PRPs should be done only under the supervision of a dermatologist

Complications that could arise are many. People who have tried to get botox and fillers from unlicensed people have ended up with uneven cheeks or eyebrows. For fillers, we can reverse the effects. However, it is not the same with every procedure,” he says

Hair concerns

It’s not just for skin; those with hair problems should also consult dermatologists, doctors say. In case of procedures like hair straightening and smoothing, it is best to go to reputed parlours with well-trained experts.

Hair procedures have their own disadvantages like hair loss and splitting. In some cases, they cause scarring alopecia (sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap). The heat applied, if not done properly, can burn the scalp and damage the hair roots. Which is why the process shouldn’t be done by assistants or juniors,” Dr Rashmi says. Dr Praveen Chandra says hair transplants that go wrong cost a lot to fix.

Procedures to avoid

If you are offered these services at beauty parlours, be wary. They must be administered or supervised by qualified dermatologists (specialist doctors who manage problems and diseases related to the skin, hair and nails).

“Anything that qualifies as a treatment like acne, hair fall and dandruff treatment should not be done in parlours. Chemical treatments, like skin peels, and anything that involves an injection, like PRP, should also be avoided,” says Dr Premalatha dermatologist with Bioterra Diagnostic Centre.

When treatments go awry?

In September 2018, a BBA student from Mysuru allegedly committed suicide after she suffered excessive hair fall due to a botched hair straightening treatment. She had gone to a beauty parlour and after the treatment, her hair became thinner by the day. She feared she was going bald, stopped going to college, and ultimately jumped into a river.

A few months before this, a woman in Bengaluru filed a case against a Jayanagar salon after a hair smoothing procedure went awry. A city consumer forum asked Cut the Crap Unisex Salon and Spa to pay her Rs 31,000 (for hair loss, mental anguish and dignity). This was more of a case of negligence. A 54-year-old filed a police complaint after an employee of a salon in Indiranagar poured hot water on her face after a facial. The employee and owners were arrested and released on bail the same day

Regulate parlours, say docs India lacks proper guidelines to regulate cosmetic procedures, medical experts say. This is compounded by false and misleading advertisements that proliferate on different media

Parlours should know what services they can legitimately provide, and where to back off. They can refer patients with skin problems to doctors; this will increase client confidence in them,” says Dr Rashmi. The government has passed the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, and must go after unauthorised practitioners of cosmetic procedures, she says. As individual clients, all people can do is ask for the credentials of whoever you are consulting.