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Life Lessons: Price of beauty

Published On: Jun 03 2013 05:58:17 AM EDT   Updated On: Jun 03 2013 08:13:10 AM EDT

How safe is your favorite beauty treatment?

How safe is your favorite beauty treatment?

Studies show Americans spend about $7 billion a year on cosmetics.

They shell out more than $10 billion on cosmetic surgery and other procedures, but experts say some of the most common beauty-boosting regimens could also be the most dangerous.


Researchers say some of these treatments can pose serious health dangers, such as fungal infections, cellulitis, scarring and even an increased risk for cancer down the line.

Nancye Swanson picked up Hepatitis B from a pedicure. "My liver was shutting down,” she says.

Dr. Stacy Chimento, a dermatologist, says other infections like staph and MRSA can spread during a visit to the salon.

"You have some of these various bacteria that grow within the actual pedicure bowls.”

That bacteria can enter the body through openings in the skin.

Spray tans are a popular beauty trend, but new research shows they may not be all that safe.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania exposed live cells to DHA, the key ingredient in spray tans. They found the chemical caused genetic changes in the cells.

Dr. Chimento explains, “So, we’re still not exactly sure how this affects the human body.”

Waxing can also be a danger if the wax is too hot says Chimento. She says waxing can cause “burns, permanent scarring, discoloration.”

Double-dipping the stick can spread bacteria in the pot and cause infection.

Laser hair removal is a popular treatment, but the numbing cream can be a danger. “It can sometimes cause some particular side effects that can be deadly.”

A couple of years ago, two women who applied the cream and wrapped their legs with plastic to enhance the effects died.

Dr. Chimento says only apply the cream under doctor supervision, use as little as possible, and only apply it to small areas.

State laws require all manicure tools to be sterilized in hospital grade disinfectant for a minimum of 10 minutes between customers, so experts say feel free to make sure that is happening at your salon before you get service.