By Helen Le Caplain
A mum-of-three was hospitalised after she claims a botched lip filler treatment caused her lips to swell up so she looked ‘like Pete Burns’ – while her own mother VOMITED when she saw her.
Leona Omalley, 24, had undergone the procedure four times before at a clinic but decided to take advantage of a beautician’s home visit service.
The full-time mum claims that the ‘cheap deal’ of £180 for 1ml of filler resulted in a trip to A&E after her lips swelled up ‘like raw sausages’.
Leona claims the beautician practised poor hygiene including not wearing gloves, carrying needles in a plastic bag instead of a sterile case, and using baby wipes instead of antiseptic wipes.
She also claims that she didn’t go through the consent document with her fully.
Leona, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, said: “I looked like Pete Burns. It looked like there were two raw sausages tied together on my face.
“My mouth was stinging and it was really sore three hours later.
“My face started going tight and my eyes were swelling up – my mouth swelled up so badly I couldn’t speak or have a drink.
“I ended up ringing 111 and they got an ambulance out. I experienced traumatic stress and had to be wrapped in a blanket – I was shivering, it was so scary.
“I was in hospital for six hours and put on steroids. I’ve never experienced anything like it – I thought I was stuck like that. She’d messed my whole face up.
“I cried and couldn’t look in the mirror. I went to take a selfie and put my camera on, when I looked at myself and just thought ‘what have I done?’ I was heartbroken.
“At first I wasn’t going to tell my mum because she never liked me doing it but then I had to.
“When my mum saw me she was heaving and being sick – my dad was really upset too.
“My boyfriend Gareth was really worried about me – he’s always telling me not to do it.
“My children were traumatised by what they’d seen, especially my five-year-old daughter Lily. I’ve got two babies [Nellie, 18 months, and Tommy, 7 months] and I couldn’t let them near my mouth.”
Leona had booked the procedure nine days before Christmas so she could flaunt a fuller pout over the festive season.
She said: “I’d seen the adverts on Facebook which looked all professional – she had a cheap deal on and I went with her because it was a week off Christmas and I just wanted them done.
“I signed something to tell me about lumps in my lips for the first couple of weeks and then she put numbing cream on for two minutes.
“She then knelt down at the side of me and injected me from one angle on the left-hand side.
“She stabbed into my mouth all in one shot – it was over in two seconds – I’ve never experienced pain like it.
“My mouth and lips were pumping out blood and I was panicking, I was told ‘don’t worry it’s normal for it to do that’ and then she left.”
Leona claims that hours after she’d had the dermal filler it was still painful and her face and mouth started to swell up.
After a six-hour stay at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, she was given a ten-day course of steroid treatment.
Leona said that the steroids meant the swelling in her lips reduced but she is now cautious about going under the needle again – even for corrective treatment.
Leona said: “After three days they went down a bit but I still had massive lips.
“I was really paranoid that everybody would be looking at my lips so didn’t really go out – I don’t think I could ever get it done again.”
Leona is now urging women to fully research before undergoing the needle.
Leona said: “I was looking at Facebook pictures of people who’d had their lips done by this beautician which looked really nice but I didn’t do more research.
“I would say never do it unless you look into it fully.”
Harley Street cosmetic doctor Dr Dan Dhunna said: “Cheap is not chic. You don’t search for fillers like you would a bargain in the sales.
“It’s all about quality of product, quality of experience and training by a medical practitioner.
“There needs to be longer awareness, aftercare support and reaction of those patients with complications.
“They need to be able to deal with complications or be able to refer onwards in a very swift manner.
“These treatments should not be performed by non-medical people, they should not be performed by beauticians.”
Founder of the Safety In Beauty campaign, Antonia Mariconda, said: “The campaign has become increasingly concerned at a number of public complaints relating to dermal lip fillers.
“Our statistics indicate that four in five complaints made result in substandard treatments being carried out by inadequately-trained individuals who have no medical qualifications and are clearly unskilled and inexperienced at addressing complications.”
The beautician who carried out Leona’s procedure strenuously denied the allegations about poor hygiene.
She said: “If I turned up with equipment in a carrier bag and didn’t have gloves on why would she let me anywhere near her with a needle?
“She also sat and read the consent, why would she sign a document if she had no idea what it was about? It’s absolute madness.
“I did not stab her or inject from one side only, that would have resulted in uneven lips.
“I left the numbing cream on until she was happy they were numb, I used anti-septic wipes on the area and afterwards I handed her a wet wipe for the area to get any little bits of blood from the injection sites.
“Her face didn’t swell, just her lips – none of it is true.”