A woman found herself in a Sunshine Coast hospital with severe chemical burns to her face — just hours after using a famous beauty serum, she claims.
Paige Broome, 23, used The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2 per cent Solution after it was recommended by a friend.
But the British backpacker — who landed in Australia for a 12-month working holiday in January — claims she applied “one drop” of the solution directly to a few blemishes on her face and immediately felt a burning sensation on her skin.
Initially brushing it off, she told news.com.au she woke in the night in agony.
“Throughout the night I woke up a few times with my face absolutely burning and then I couldn’t get back to sleep,” she said.
Hopping out of her hostel bed, Paige knew something was seriously wrong when she walked outside to go to the toilet and “the morning breeze on my face was agonising”.
One look in the mirror confirmed her worst fears.
“I saw all these blisters on my face that were popping. I was absolutely horrified,” Paige said.
“I washed my face with cold water to try and rinse it off, but it didn’t make a difference because my face was still burnt and painful.”
Terrified by the sight of her blistered face, Paige burst into tears and ran back to her room.
She googled her symptoms and soon found an article about a girl who claimed she suffered chemical burns after using The Ordinary’s salicylic acid solution.
“I was so stressed reading this because I was alone in a country I had never been to before. I had no idea where I was and I had very limited funds,” Paige said.
“It was a really stressful situation to find myself in, and I was just crying my eyes out.”
With her face in agony, she headed to hospital for help.
“My face was so red and painful and broken everywhere, it was really scary,” she said.
A doctor said Paige had suffered chemical burns and prescribed her antibiotics, medicated ointment, Sudocream and ice packs for the pain.
Despite being on holiday, doctors warned Paige that her blisters could lead to “permanent scarring” so advised her to stay indoors.
She has been indoors for the last week and walks around the hostel “with white cream and ice packs all over my face”.
“The whole thing has been really embarrassing. Having people staring and laughing at me hasn’t been a lot of fun,” Paige said.
Paige bought the $8.20 cult item from Myer to use on a few pimples on Thursday last week.
With a fairly simple skincare regimen featuring Nivea moisturiser and sunscreen, Paige said she didn’t have any allergies and assumed the spot treatment would be the perfect tool to tackle her breakouts.
Paige told 9Honey that she had also been taking acne medication.
“I have only been on these tablets for around two weeks and as they take three months to get into your system, I don’t believe it to be a factor to my reaction,” she told the website.
The globally acclaimed skincare range The Ordinary has amassed a cult following, with beauty reviewers, experts and celebrities praising the products for their miracle-working abilities and affordability.
The salicylic acid solution is designed only as a spot treatment for breakouts.
Paige said she contacted The Ordinary’s umbrella company, Deciem, hoping to receive an apology.
When she finally heard back from the company — after she posted photographs and an unfavourable review to their public Facebook account — Paige said she was shocked and insulted when they allegedly offered to refund her the $8.20 and send over “a free moisturising product to help with the aftermath”.
“They have just treated it like it’s any other kind of complaint,” Paige said.
Paige has now been instructed by doctors to stay out of direct sunlight as the blisters on her face may scar permanently.
Her skin still isn’t back to normal, a week after she said she used the product.
“I’m feeling better than I was, but I just can’t believe that it has happened,” she said.
“You read about these sorts of things all the time but you never think it’s going to happen to you, especially when you’re on holiday.”
Deciem has been contacted by news.com.au for comment.
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