According to the Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists there are approximately 14,000 beauty businesses operating in the UK. A 2011 report by Simply Business suggested that, between 2008 and 2010, beauty salons were amongst the fastest growing high street shops in the UK and industry analysts claim that beauty salons have performed well during the recession. There is a lot of money to be made in beauty as evidenced by the widespread magazine advertisements for a wide range of cosmetics, skin care, microdermabrasion products, retinoids, antioxidants, peels and minor cosmetic procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers.
However, in an industry that is often poorly regulated and treatments can be performed by unqualified people, the rise in popularity of beauty treatments has also led to an increase in salon injuries and accidents. As it is not compulsory for the salon or the therapist to have insurance to cover them in the event their client suffers an injury, clients can be left with no recourse for compensation.
Elise Bevan, a solicitor in the Clinical Negligence team at Penningtons Manches says: “Dangerous chemicals and equipment are used in salons and, if used incorrectly or if the equipment is faulty, they can caused irreparable damage. We have acted for a number of clients who have had disastrous results from treatments performed at beauty salons leaving them with injuries such as burns, scalds, rashes, allergic reactions and severe scarring, as well as considerable distress and embarrassment.
“We have been approached by many people who have had an injury following treatment at a beauty salon and subsequently discovered that the salon and/or therapist does not have insurance. No matter how experienced your beauty therapist is or how professional they seem, there is always a risk that something can go wrong.
“It should be mandatory for salons and therapists to have appropriate public liability insurance given the potential for damage that can be caused by the techniques they use. As a large number of insurers offer competitive rates as well as industry membership organisations like The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology, there is no excuse for being uninsured. We advise anyone using beauty salons to ask them if they have insurance and, if they become defensive or vague, do not take the risk.”