A WOMAN has warned of the dangers of lip fillers, after hers became infected and exploded pus.
Alex Oakley, 27, said her lips swelled so much she “felt like a stroke victim” – but the practitioner reportedly told her to ice them and “eat pineapple”.
Days after the cheap procedure, the call centre banking agent was struggling to speak at work and was in agonising pain.
She went to A&E, where doctors dished out a week-long course of antibiotics. She also saw a private doctor at a cost of £2,000.
Alex, from Maidstone, Kent, said: "The doctor said she was concerned that in the pictures I sent her you could see my lip had turned white, meaning I had no blood flow.
"She needed to lift my lip up but my lip was so swollen she couldn't move it and I was in agony. It looked like a slug on my face.
"She said she needed to numb me as she needed to see what was going on. She put the needle in my lip and as soon as she did that my lip just burst.
"It exploded and pus went all over my doctor. It wasn't the best experience I've ever had.
"I couldn't let her touch me because I was in so much pain.”
Alex, who lives with 27-year-old carpenter boyfriend Will Scott, had lip fillers twice previously with a medically-trained nurse in 2018 with no problems.
She paid £200 for 0.5ml of filler.
But after spotting an offer of 1ml of filler for £150 with a different practitioner who was recommended by pals, she decided to give it a go.
As of yet, there isn't legislation in the UK to prevent non-medical professionals from delivering injectable cosmetic treatments.
But the general consensus in the industry is that they should only be performed by qualified medical professionals who have experience with needles.
It's one of the reasons The Sun launched its Had Our Fill campaign to stop adverts on social media and have a Government-backed register for practitioners. Lip fillers were banned for under 18s after our campaign.
Alex said: "I decided to get fillers because I'm insecure about how I look. I'd seen people I knew who had had it done and I liked what I saw.
"I felt like I had quite thin lips so it was just a little confidence boost. I was happy with the results at first but then I wanted to keep doing it.”
Alex booked with the cheaper practitioner and underwent the treatment on April 5, 2019.
Over the following two days Alex's top-right lip started to swell and became increasingly painful.
She said: "When I went to work I knew something was wrong because I was talking and I could just feel my lips weren't moving.
"I started panicking because I could tell people were looking at it but weren't saying anything.
"My lip was triple the size it normally is. It was only one side and I kept messaging the girl [practitioner] 'I feel like I've had a stroke' as I couldn't move the right side of my mouth.
"It was the worst pain, it was horrible.
"My teeth were throbbing as well as I had no blood circulation, it was a nightmare.”
After panicked Alex sent pictures of her face to the practitioner for advice, she was told that “it looked healthy and was nothing to worry about”.
"She said it would be fine in two weeks' time, to just keep taking the pain relief, told me to eat pineapple and to sleep with an extra pillow under my head,” Alex claims.
Tearful Alex was taken to Maidstone Hospital's A&E department on April 8th by Will's mum.
At A&E baffled doctors examined her lips and gave her a course of antibiotics, concerned she had an infection.
Opting for a second opinion, Alex also submitted her details and photos online to a private clinic, which contacted her urging to get her lips checked out by their doctor.
Alex said: "The private clinic rang me and said the doctor was in London for meetings but she was going to come home to see me.
"They told me not to panic but said I needed to be seen.”
After Alex’s lips exploded on the doctor, she was given more antibiotics and painkillers, while a sample of her lip was sent for testing.
"The sample came back [indicating] that there was bacteria – meaning dirt had got into the wound,” Alex said.
"It's really hard to pinpoint where it had come from but she said it's more likely the mouth wasn't cleaned properly before I had it done."
Now Alex is fully healed and is sharing her story so others don't have the same experience she did.
She said: "I personally think you pay for quality. It's really tricky, it's appealing when it's cheap and they've got thousands of followers.
"It's crazy you can go on a course for two days and then you're qualified, it's not right.
"She didn't know I had a problem but a doctor saw that picture and knew it was a problem. They should be medically trained.
"Everything's back to normal now but I'm never doing it again."
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