By Susan Barnett
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a 3 On Your Side Investigation. A teenager is injured by a spa treatment that millions of women and men get all the time. It seems like it would be simple treatment but it left a Philadelphia girl hurt and in tears. CBS 3 Anchor Susan Barnett reports.
The picture Carole Rocchi took of her daughter’s face shows a lip that is terribly bruised and swollen.
“It hurt so bad,” said 16 year old Maria Rocchi.
The day before her winter formal Maria says she went to Cindy’s Nails in Northeast Philadelphia to get her upper lip waxed.
“The wax felt a little hotter,” said Maria.
She’d had the treatment there before but this time something went wrong during the waxing.
When they ripped it off they actually ripped off my skin, I could like feel it burning,” she said.
Her lip was bleeding and by the time Maria got home, the lip began to swell.
“It just was getting bigger and bigger and it was kind of scary,” Maria said.
“She slept in my bed that night crying the whole night she was very upset,” said Carole. “They really hurt her and that’s very upsetting to me.”
Not only was Maria going to miss the dance, she was headed to the emergency room.
But before that, Maria and her mom went back to the salon.
“I just wanted them to see what they did and we didn’t know how bad it was until that night,” said Carole.
But the salon had nothing to say according to Carole. So, 3 On Your Side paid a visit to Cindy’s Nails to see if anyone would talk to us.
When we asked to see the owner or a manager we were told neither the owner nor the manager was there. And when we asked to see a license, no one could show us one.
It turns out that Cindy’s nails was not licensed to perform waxing when Maria was there in December 2011.
In fact, state records obtained by Eyewitness News show the shop’s license expired in January of last year.
“What’s expected to come off is hair not skin,” said Ani White, a licensed cosmetologist at Deme.
She says the key to preventing skin damage from waxing is the texture of the wax.
“The wax consistency should be thick, if it’s too watery that means the wax is too hot,” said White.
White says she tests the wax temperature by applying it to the inner wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.
And a barrier cream should be used to protect the skin.
“Waxing isn’t just a simple technique,” says Main Line Dermatologist Doctor Victoria Cirillo-Hyland.
Dr. Cirillo-Hyland has treated waxing injuries like burns, allergic reactions and infections.
“You need to have some medical background before you just launch right in to waxing somebody,” she said. “We always ask about using acne medicines because a lot of them contain retinoids and retinoids make the skin more sensitive to the wax.”
Maria says she was not using any medication or creams.
It’s unclear why she was injured.
Her lip is healed now but Maria can still see where the damage was done.
“It’s a little scar from the burn,” she said.
Cindy’s Nails which has been cited for waxing violations in the past did not respond to our request for an interview.
Incidentally the salon’s license was reactivated the same day we were there asking questions.
In all 3 states in our area, salon licenses are supposed to be on display.
You can also ask to see the license of an employee.
You can check a salon’s status online on the links we’ve set up.