WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES – Izi Corner’s scalp was so badly damaged that now, at just 25, she has had to undergo a hair transplant.
A young woman who sustained agonising chemical burns whilst having her hair professionally bleached at a salon has released graphic pictures of her injuries after her scalp was so badly damaged that she needed a hair transplant at just 25.
Fancying a change from her naturally brunette hair, in February 2016 patisserie student Izi Corner, then 22, booked an appointment to have her locks bleached then dyed pink, at a salon near her Manchester home, after being pleased with several haircuts she had received at a sister branch.
But disaster struck when, after the bleach was applied, she was placed under a heat lamp and felt a painful burning sensation at the back of her head – not realising until later that she had sustained chemical burns, which a doctor said had left her hair follicles severely damaged.
Now, after living with a 4cm bald patch for years, she has finally had her confidence restored thanks to a £2,500 hair transplant at central Manchester’s Farjo Hair Institute, saying: “Looking back, I feel silly to have got so upset, but I did feel like my world fell apart.
“The physical pain was agony – I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I feel much better now, knowing that I’m making steps to get it sorted.”
Despite never having any problems or reactions when using packet dyes at home, which she had done several times, Izi had sought professional help to bleach her hair, as she wanted to do it responsibly.
“I’d used box dyes before with no problems, but I figured doing something drastic like bleaching my hair was best done by a professional – or so I thought, anyway,” she said.
Going to a local salon, where she had been for haircuts but not for colour treatments, she explained what she wanted.
“They told me that a colleague at their sister branch was very good with colour, so to book that way, which I did,” she said. “As it was somewhere I’d been before, I didn’t think there’d be any issues.”
So, in February 2016, Izi settled into the hairdresser’s chair, excited to see her new bright pink tresses come to life.
“I was told that, with the bleach, I may feel a little discomfort, but not to worry, as it was totally normal,” she said. “It was applied, then I was put under a heat lamp. After about 10 to 15 minutes, I started feeling this burning pain at the top of my head.
“I tried to ignore it, remembering what they’d said about some discomfort being normal, but it soon escalated to the point where I actually thought my hair was on fire. I even leaned forwards to see if I could see any smoke.”
Worried, Izi alerted staff, who agreed to rinse the bleach off under cold water, which she said instantly soothed the agonising sensation.
With no idea of the damage that had been caused at this point, she agreed to continue with the appointment and have the pink dye applied to complete her look.
“It was at the back of my head, so I couldn’t see it and I kept being reassured that everything was fine,” she said. “So, I carried on, got the pink put in, had my hair styled and went to pay. It was originally supposed to be in the £70 bracket, but they ended up charging me just £35, which they said was a goodwill gesture to make up for the distress.”
Heading home, Izi thought little more of her dramatic appointment until later that evening, when she noticed the patch on her head that had been feeling “burnt” was weeping and that the hair around it was clumping together.
With plans to head to Nottingham for the weekend for a friend’s birthday, she had little time to think about what was happening and just hoped that her discomfort would soon subside.
“In Nottingham, I didn’t do anything to my hair just in case – didn’t wash or style it,” she said. “Then, when I got home on Sunday, I finally washed it and all the pink dye came right out.”
She continued: “I thought that was strange and then the pain started again. It was so severe that I was taking ibuprofen every four hours and waking up in the night when it wore off.
“My hair kept getting stuck to the scab that had formed, so my mum said for me to wash my hair and she’d gently comb it all out when it was wet.
“As soon as she did, though, the scab literally came off in her hand and we saw this infected wound underneath.”
Alarmed, Izi headed to the minor injuries unit of Trafford General Hospital, where it was confirmed she had suffered a chemical burn.
She was given antibiotics, but warned that the damage to her hair follicles was so great that she would be unlikely to see her hair regrow on the wound site.
“When I heard, at first it was such a shock. I felt numb, it didn’t seem to make any sense to me,” she continued. “When it sank in I felt so down, I told my sisters, ‘When it’s healed over I’m just going to shave all my hair off.’”
After finishing her course of antibiotics, Izi went to her GP, as hospital staff had instructed her to do, and was given cream and dressings to keep her burn clean.
“I’d have to coat the burn in cream, dress it, then wear a pair of tights over my head to keep it all in place,” she recalled.
“In my opinion, the chemical burn happened because the heat lamp was too close to my head and it sparked a reaction in the bleach.”
In time, Izi was put in touch with a trichologist – a branch of dermatology that deals with the hair and scalp – who gave her the details of the Farjo Hair Institute.
Following a consultation, where it was explained that she would need a maximum of three procedures, costing £2,500 a time, she had her first in October 2019.
She was able to fund the treatment with compensation she received as a result of the accident.
“I wanted to wait until the winter so I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the area out of the sun and risking further damage,” she explained. “At the appointment, I was numbed with a local anaesthetic and then they got to work. They made me feel really comfortable – although it was a bit surreal. I was sat there watching TV with all this going on.”
Using special microscopes, medics took root hairs from elsewhere on Izi’s head before transplanting them into her bald patch.
“The worst bit was when they took the hair for the graft. It felt really tight, but it was literally over in a few minutes,” she said.
Now, Izi must wait a year to see how her scalp reacts to the transplant, and whether new hairs begin to grow. After that, she will meet again with medics to discuss whether she needs to have a second or third procedure.
She concluded: “I have short hair anyway, so luckily it would naturally fall over the bald patch, but there were quite a few times when people would point it out to me and ask what it was, which made me self-conscious.”
“I know people have it far worse, but for your hair to suddenly fall out like that was really quite a shock, and it shouldn’t have happened. Still, I feel much better knowing that Farjo Hair Institute are able to help.”
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