Beauty therapist risks clients’ lives

The Sonoun Kimlee Salon operated at the back of this jewellery shop (image courtesy of Springvale Shopping Centre)

A beauty therapist operating in an unregistered Melbourne clinic has put her clients at risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV infections due to her unsafe practices.

Victoria’s chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton urged people who had cosmetic procedures at the unregistered salon in Springvale to see their GP to test for blood-borne viruses.

The therapist, Lee Kim Tan, operated the Sonoun Kimlee Salon, which offered “high-risk cosmetic procedures” such as cosmetic tattooing, “”skin cuts” for skin tightening”  and filler injections, at the back of  a jewellery shop owned by her husband in the Springvale Shopping Centre, since early in 2018.

The Victorian Department of Health began investigating the salon after Dandenong Council received reports that people were “leaving the jewellery shop with blood on their faces and looking as though they had undergone a cosmetic procedure”.

After discovering Sonoun Kimlee Salon was not registered or “appropriately fitted to provide cosmetic procedures” the council notified the department that “the practitioner posed a potential risk to public health due to her poor hygiene practices and lack of infection control”.

Although there have been no reports to date of clients becoming unwell from visiting the salon,Dr Sutton said the salon’s clients have been exposed to the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV from other patients or from the person performing the cosmetic work.

“I want to reiterate how important it is to only receive cosmetic services in a registered facility using hygienic processes,” Dr Sutton said.

“The risk of infection, injury and permanent damage is very high if premises do not employ suitably qualified staff and practice suitable infection control measures.”

The department is contacting 68 of the clinic’s clients identified from the salons’ records but believe there may be many more due to the inadequate record keeping.

Dandenong Council has closed the salon and removed all equipment and medicines while the Health Complaints Commissioner has issued an Interim Prohibition Order on the salon operator from advertising, offering or providing any cosmetic or medical procedure.

However, Sonoun Saing, told the Herald Sun that he and his wife, who ran the clinic, would be awaiting approval to resume operating and that no patients had ever complained about their cosmetic work.

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