A beauty lover claims a horror allergic reaction to eyebrow tinting saw her transformed into a ‘monster’, when her brows scabbed over entirely and then fell off.
Michelle Clarke, 31, from Coventry, West Midlands, said her eyebrows became itchy shortly after having them waxed and tinted but she woke up the next morning to them ‘weeping’ and her face was also swollen.
She claims she had a ‘near-death experience’ later that day becayse her airways began to close and she went into anaphylactic shock, so was dashed to A&E to get medical help.
Michelle claims she had an allergic reaction to the tint – but that having her brows waxed before the tint was applied was a grave error because it opened up her pores to the toxins in the dye to quickly enter her bloodstream.
Over the course of a week, she endured an ‘absolutely awful’ experience as her face became so swollen it ‘doubled’ in size – forcing her eyes shut and leaving her looking like ‘the Elephant Man’.
Photos reveal how her ‘red angry’ eyebrows became covered in pus before they scabbed over and completely fell out – exposing ‘bubbly blistering’ skin underneath.
Michelle Clarke, 31, from Coventry, West Midlands, said her eyebrows became itchy shortly after having them waxed and tinted but she woke up the next morning to them ‘weeping’ and her face was also swollen
Michelle, pictured before the treatment, said she had a patch test but the beautician only waited around an hour to see if there was any reaction
Michelle’s ‘red angry’ eyebrows became covered in pus before they scabbed over and completely fell out
After a long six weeks recovery and with eyebrows now grown back, Michelle recently shared her ordeal from September 2020 on TikTok as a warning to others.
She is keen to raise awareness of the importance of waiting at least 48 hours for the results of a patch test and to ensure that beauticians know the correct order of treatments.
Michelle said: ‘I haven’t had an eyebrow wax and tint since and I would never have it done again.
‘Everyone I’ve spoken to since said that you’re supposed to tint and then wax as you get the tint residue off with the wax, but she just completely did it the wrong way.
Michelle said she was left looking like The Elephant Man when her face swelled to twice its normal size in the week after the treatment
‘I looked like a monster. My eyebrows were red, angry and really scabby and were just falling off with the pus.
‘It was leaving bubbly, blistering skin with fleshy skin underneath. It had completely burned layers of my skin.
‘I didn’t want to go out and be stared at. I looked like The Elephant Man because I was so swollen, scabby and horrible.
‘I was housebound for a good week. It was absolutely awful.’
Michelle said that she visited a beautician who had previously done her eyelashes to have them infilled, where she offered to wax and tint her eyebrows.
MIchelle, pictured before the treatment, said that having her brows waxed before they were tined meant her skin was more sensitive and her pores absorbed the dye
She did a patch test and after waiting around 45 minutes to an hour while a friend had a beauty treatment, she was advised that they’d do the procedure because she hadn’t had a reaction.
Michelle said: ‘The night I had them done they started to feel a bit itchy and I just thought ‘oh, it just might be something from the dye or whatever’.
‘I didn’t think anything of it. But when I woke up on the Friday morning my face was a lot more swollen and my eyebrows were weeping.
‘I was out with my friend and my airways started closing up so I was taken to hospital and they had to give me an injection to open my airways back up and they said that I was going into anaphylactic shock.
‘I could breathe, it felt like someone had me in a really tight bear hug and was just squeezing and it was getting tighter and tighter.
MIchelle said it felt like her eyebrows were on fire and her forehead was burning from the inside out, adding that it was impossible to sleep properly
‘That was the only time in my life that I genuinely feared [I was going to die], like wow, that was my closest death experience.’
After being treated at A&E Michelle’s breathing returned to normal around 20 minutes later and she was sent home with steroid cream.
But her reaction only worsened.
Michelle said: ‘It felt like my eyebrows were on fire and my forehead was burning from the inside out.
‘They were so itchy and I couldn’t sleep properly because I could see all the pus falling down my face. It was bright yellow and green.
‘I was having to sleep with cotton pads on my eyebrows and then trying to get them off the next morning was going back to square one again, but I couldn’t physically sleep without anything trying to catch all the pus.
There was so muchy pus running down her face, Michelle said it was inmpossible to sleep at night
‘It was just down to the bare flesh but they were still weeping with pus at that point as well.
‘It was itchy and painful because of the swelling. At one point I actually got black eyes from the swelling.
‘My face probably swelled double [its normal size]. At one point my eyes were completely shut, I could still see a little bit but the swelling made it look like my eyes were completely shut.’
Michelle returned to hospital on the Monday as her breathing had deteriorated again and face had become more swollen.
She also visited a doctor and in total received antibiotics, steroids and antihistamines to help alleviate her reaction.
After all her eyebrow hair fell out, Michelle was left with blistered painful flesh underneath
Michelle said: ‘It was probably about two weeks it was pusing, bleeding and then falling off. It was quite a long process.
‘The hairs were trying to grow through but every time the scabs would fall off, the hairs would come off with it. So for about three to four weeks I had no eyebrows.
‘As a girl, your eyebrows and that sort of thing, define you as a character.
‘My eyebrows were fair anyway and the reason I got them done was to prevent me from drawing them on every day and I could just get up and go, whereas it’s had the completely opposite effect.
‘I had to put cotton pads over my eyes and then wear a woolly hat right down to over my eyes so that nobody could see my eyebrows.
‘My friend came shopping with me looking like that so I didn’t feel like an idiot.
‘If I saw someone in a supermarket like that, I’d double take and have a look, and that’s what people were doing to me.’
MIchelle said that she struggled to see because of the swelling around her eyes, and sleeping was almost impossible because of the itching and pus running down her face
Michelle’s eyebrows completely returned to normal after around after eight to ten weeks and she’s now keen to raise awareness of her experience.
Michelle said: ‘I eventually wanted to get them tattooed on but again I’m also fearful to put anything like that on my face because I wouldn’t want to go through anything like that again, ever.
‘I wanted to raise awareness.
‘People were telling me to do it as soon as it happened but I didn’t want to go down that road then, I wanted to recover and to get over things.
‘I’d tell people to ensure that they know that their eyebrow practitioner knows the correct procedure and that a patch test isn’t left on for an hour.
‘Even the patch test at the back of my neck did exactly the same as my eyebrows did.
‘So if she had waited for 24 to 48 that people recommend, she would have noticed that maybe the dye was too strong, but then to obviously do it the wrong way as well didn’t help.
‘That’s why it was so bad as it was a mixture of both of those things.’