Microblading beauty trend could be harmful if done by unregulated businesses

Not to be confused with permanent makeup, microblading is a fairly recent phenomenon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Not to be confused with permanent makeup, microblading is a fairly recent phenomenon. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Microblading is a trend that’s recently gained notoriety in the North American beauty world.

It’s a fairly quick procedure, taking only a few hours to complete without any downtime afterward. It involves semi-permanently tattooing eyebrow hairs under the existing brow, with the goal of mimicking natural hair to give the brow a filled-in look or a new shape. This is done by an esthetician who draws tiny cuts into the desired areas of the brow and inserts ink into them.

As popular as this beauty trend is becoming, there are risks involved. There are health risks because the procedure involves breaking the skin. Do any laws or regulations protect you? What legal action could be taken if something goes wrong?

Not to be confused with permanent makeup, microblading is a fairly recent phenomenon, so there aren’t any major legal cases involving mishaps or governmental regulations pertaining to microblading in Canada yet.

According to an article by CTV News, there are unregulated businesses appearing online on sites such as Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook – often people working out of their homes. Unlike commercial tattoo shops or cosmetic surgery clinics, people working out of their homes bypass necessary health and safety inspections that are provincially regulated – so tread carefully!

Estheticians should provide microblading services but the reality is that anyone can do it because no licence is required. Educational courses can be taken but those aren’t regulated by any laws or provided by a designated source.

If something goes awry during the procedure, a lawsuit can be filed and it would be treated as a case of negligence (failure to act as a reasonably cautious person). The esthetician would have to be proven to not have met the standard of care for the plaintiff to win the case. This could include not ensuring equipment is sterile, not responding appropriately and properly to the client’s pain, not conducting patch tests, etc.

There must be a causal connection for the defendant to be liable. Damages that the plaintiff could sue for include resulting deformities, medical costs, or lost wages. The accused might be able to avoid liability if the plaintiff agreed to any forewarned risks and warnings.

If someone has a health compliant regarding body and beauty services such as microblading but also including electrolysis, tattoos, piercings, hair and tanning salons, it can be reported to its corresponding jurisdictional department – for instance, Toronto has a website where reports can be submitted and British Columbia has a directory of places to contact for such matters.

However, it’s better to think proactively rather than reactively when a procedure involves health and safety. If a business has a licence to operate, that means that it has passed necessary inspections. Toronto has an online tool, for example, to check body and beauty service businesses’ inspection results.
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