Botched WA beauty treatments leaving customers ‘burnt and scarred’, warns Consumer Protection

Charlotte EltonThe West Australian
The aftermath of a botched "fat freezing" treatment; the woman was left with second degree burns.
Camera IconThe aftermath of a botched "fat freezing" treatment; the woman was left with second degree burns.

Dodgy beauty parlours have left customers with “second degree burns, prolonged pain, and psychological trauma”, WA’s consumer protection watchdog has warned.

In the first six months of 2021, the Department of Consumer Protection received 36 complaints and 25 enquiries about beauty and cosmetic treatments. WA is on track to equal or exceed last year’s total of 71 complaints.

One of those included a dodgy “fat-freezing” treatment that left Shannon Winning with second degree burns to her stomach.

“At three in the morning (after the procedure) I woke up crying in pain, my stomach was swollen and had a huge circle blister with pus on it,” she said.

“The pain was like really bad sunburn on my stomach for weeks, I couldn’t shower properly or pick up my toddler.”

The scarring left her self-conscious — especially once she fell pregnant a few months later.

“(In) all my pregnancy photos I have a huge scar,” she said.

“I try not to think about it as it makes me cry.”

Another victim was left in horrific pain by a botched tummy-tuck.

“The pain was terrible, and they didn’t even complete the procedure,” the woman — who the West Australian has chosen not to name — recalled.

“I look the same, but I’m in pain.”

Infections, allergic reactions, and bruising were also commonplace ailments, Consumer Protection commissioner Gary Newcombe warned.

“The impact on affected consumers can be significant with prolonged pain, long-term scarring and psychological trauma,” he said.

Dr Sanjay Nadkarni, who was the face of the New Life clinic in Subiaco, was found guilty of professional misconduct.
Camera IconDr Sanjay Nadkarni, who was the face of the New Life clinic in Subiaco, was found guilty of professional misconduct.

“We urge consumers who have had a bad experience to report it to Consumer Protection, or specific regulators of that procedure, so that the circumstances can be investigated and appropriate action taken.”

Mr Newcombe warned customers not to presume their beauty practitioner had any qualifications.

“Consumers shouldn’t assume that the person delivering a treatment or procedure has a medical qualification as this may not be required,” he said.

“If they are a plastic surgeon, medical doctor or nurse, they will need to be registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and their qualifications can be checked by an online search.”

The warnings come just a month after a Perth doctor was found guilty of “professional misconduct” after needlessly prescribing patients steroids, testosterone and other stimulants.

Dr Sanjay Nadkarni — the face of the New Life clinic in Subiaco — offered clients anti-ageing treatments like botox and vaginal tightening.

His website greeted visitors with the tagline: “No one will know...”

Dr Nadkarni prescribed dangerous steroids and human growth hormone “without proper therapeutic or clinical justification,” a finding from State Administrative Tribunal concluded. HGH can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, weakness of muscles and tendons and hypertension.

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