On September 14, Dubai influencer Leena Kaziz booked herself an LVL eyelash treatment. The procedure includes a lash lift and tint, a treatment common in the region, and offered by most leading beauty salons. However, by the end of the day, she knew that something was wrong.
"Symptoms started the same day – it really didn't take long for them to start showing up," she told The National. "In a couple of hours, I felt uncomfortable. My eyes got red then swollen, and it only got worse from there."
The Syrian influencer said she was unable to sleep that night as she felt a sharp pain in her eyes every time she closed them. “I went to the doctor the next day but they weren’t sure it was anything serious and I was given eye drops. I went to the doctor again the next day. By the third day, I had to go to the hospital in a wheelchair. I wasn’t able to walk since my eyes had swollen shut. I wasn’t able to control my eyelids or open my eyes.”
She was then informed the lash treatment had triggered an allergy and a severe eye infection that had also spread to the skin around the eye and eyelid.
Kaziz was administered medication through IV, needed antihistamine shots and was given antibiotics. Some of her medication needs to be taken for a month. She says her sight has improved greatly with the treatment, but that her eyes are not fully back to normal yet.
Kaziz has shared pictures of herself from the hospital on social media, which has been met with well-wishes from other UAE bloggers and influencers.
She says the entire incident has been a wake-up call. “Honestly, the minute we are born, we are so brainwashed on how to look prettier. We are educated in school about the human body – but I forgot the purpose. I saw my hair, my eyes, my skin as a tool to be more attractive.
“I am a lady and I want to look after myself. But there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. I think I almost forgot the true purpose of my eyes which is my sight. But we all need to appreciate our bodies and be more careful that we are treating it right.”
The influencer is encouraging anyone thinking of undergoing treatments to demand a patch test, wherein products or treatments are applied to a small patch of skin to check for allergies before using them. She says that she had requested a patch test at the establishment she had visited, but was told it wasn’t really required.
She also reminds others to do their due diligence about beauty treatments. “Apparently lash treatments do have a probability of an allergic reaction, but we are simply not all that aware of this in this region,” she says. “Educate yourself. Read and learn before you use any product or treatment about the chance of an allergic reaction. Ask yourself if it is [worth] the risk. If it is, do it in a good place, and make sure that the technician knows what they are doing and is not exhausted after a long day.”
Apart from beauty treatments, she also asks people to take more care of their bodies, and not simply for aesthetics. “Simple things like taking off eye make-up at night can lower risk of eye infection. It’s not just about making yourself prettier but taking care of yourself. Realising how precious your body is.
“I’m still going to put on make-up, exercise, take care of my body. But I won’t ever put beauty before health again – that was the learning point for me,” she says.