Not Just Foods: Woman’s Eyebrow Wax and Tint Leads to Biphasic Anaphylaxis


Clare McGuire, a 34-year-old mother of two from Greater Manchester, decided to treat herself with a visit to the salon to get her eyebrows waxed and tinted.

The usual procedure at the salon is to test for potential allergic reactions the day prior to the procedure by placing a small patch containing the chemicals on the skin. With no issues indicated, McGuire visited the salon the next day for her beauty treatment.

Some hours after the treatment, her face became red and itchy and she called Emergency Services, who advised her to go to the hospital.

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That evening at Trafford General Hospital, she was given epinephrine and steroid tablets and subsequently released.

The next morning, McGuire was stunned to discover her face had ballooned and her tongue had swelled so severely that upon return to the hospital, horrified doctors claimed she could have choked in her sleep. [Note: this is indicative of a biphasic reaction.]

Trigger Warning
Click here to see photos of Clare McGuire after her reaction.

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Ms McGuire picks up the story:

Red spots started appearing around my eyebrows so I messaged the girl that did them and she said to take some antihistamines so I did.

In hospital they gave me an EpiPen shot and steroid tablets and sent me home but it got worse overnight, so the next morning I went back and they put me on an intravenous drip.

Urgent care said because my tongue had swollen I could have choked. I got told I could have died, it was really scary.

Over the next few days it just got worse – my eyebrows went really red and were swelling, scabbing, and seeping.

I thought I looked like Quasimodo and my sons told me I looked like the Elephant Man.

I wear glasses but my face was too swollen to put them on for three days.

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McGuire claims the technician that originally applied the patch did so to her hand and told her to leave it on for an hour. But according to research she had done after the ordeal, she said: “But I found out after that she should’ve done the patch test behind my ear and it should’ve stayed on for at least 24 hours and she should’ve known that because of her training.”

Doctors have prescribed steroid tablets, antihistamines, and antibiotics to help reduce the swelling from her allergic reaction and stave off infection from the scabs surrounding her eyebrows.

Said McGuire:

It’s been three weeks and I’m still not back to normal – I’ve still got redness and scabs and I’m worried they’re not going to grow back properly.

Doctors said if I had a reaction like that again it would kill me so I’ll never do it again, I’ll stick to threading.

People need to know this can happen and make sure they get a patch test behind their ear and leave it on for 24 hours.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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