I thought I should try to explain why I HAD this potentially hazardous product (as though it somehow mitigates the imprudent circumstances under which I injured myself with it). When Sarah was between rounds of chemo, she’d grow head stubble (because her hair, like I said, has magic beanstalk properties). The fuzz irritated her to no end. Because she had a Central Broviac® Catheter, she was not supposed to shave or use scissors or brandish a cleaver at herself, so I saw ran across this product in the store and thought it might be a solution to her problems:
And it's from FRANCE...

Here’s the product endorsement:


Specially formulated for smoothness and long-lasting results, the new VEET® Facial Cream Kit has a gentle depilatory cream and moisturizing cream which are clinically proven to minimize irritation.

Both creams condition your skin with rich shea butter. The kit also includes the VEET® Perfect Touch Hair Removal Spatula for easy application and removal. It’s designed for easy, mess-free use, with smooth edges that protect delicate facial skin.

Take the sensitivity out of facial hair – in more ways than one – with the new VEET® Facial Cream Kit.

As is turns out, Shirleen broke the rules, and used her years of experience as a former dog groomer to gently and carefully shave Sarah’s head. So the “Facial Kit” has been in one of my bathroom drawers for ages.

It occurred to me that it might be the IDEAL product to take the essentially invisible peach fuzz off my face (Ladies, if you haven’t hit your mid twenties or later – just you wait – you’ll get more furry, I assure you). It sounded like using this product was as easy and soothing as gently caressing wondrously soft wee sleeping kittens on your face and then smoothing on sumptuous cream that gave you a visage rivaling the finest and most luxurious silk.

Is it redundant to say I really should know better?

I did read the instructions carefully. However, I disregarded the part about doing a patch test “in a small area and waiting 24 hours before using product to ensure you have no adverse skin reactions. Contains thioglycolate.*” Believe it or not, though I am Kate the Safety Dog, I don’t ever patch test or strand test – not with skin products, not with detergents and such (to see if they dissolve or discolour fabric OR cause fatal allergic reactions). I realize that this is incongruous, but in addition to being Kate the Safety Dog, I am wont to be EXTREMELY IMPATIENT at times

Thus, I jumped right on in. In accordance with the instructions, I spread a “thick coating” of the depilatory cream on clean, dry skin. I did NOT rub it in. Ah – a noticeable tingling stinging sensation…

That’s when things got dicey. I’d already disregarded the patch testing section under the “CAUTION” section on the box. I’d also read this “caution”:

If discomfort and irritation occurs during use, remove the product immediately and rinse area with cold water.

In most circumstances, the recommended length of time to allow the product to remain on your skin is UNDER five minutes, ten minutes maximum. I was aiming for the minimum. Regrettably, three to four minutes is not a long time to muse about what constitutes genuine “discomfort” and/or “irritation.” I clearly have a high tolerance for physical “irritation” and/or “discomfort” OR I rationalize to an absurd extent. Perhaps BOTH.

The next step was to remove the cream with the magic VEET® spatula.

The soft ends of the spatula gently glide over the contours of the face, ensuring that the hair is effectively removed.

How FUN; I just love tools! I started to “gently glide” over my face with the magic spatula. I knew instantaneously that I was in trouble. As I insinuated previously, I am NOT a wimp, but each stroke of the the spatula caused me to cry ALOUD with profound and horrific pain. It was something to the effect of, “Ouch, ouch, OWWWWW, OUCH, OUCH, [insert your choice of profanity here], OUCH OUCH OUCH, AHHHHHHHHHH, OUCH, [insert something so vulgar here that sailors all around the world blushed], OOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!.” It was like removing several layers of one’s epidermis with a butter knife.

THEN it was time to “wash off residue using cold water.” I was astonished to find that it was WORSE than scraping the cream off with the “gently gliding” spatula. This process, as you would expect, caused another loud burst of similar…oration as aforementioned.

After “patting” my face dry (believe it or not, I was still attempting to follow the directions), I applied the moisturizing cream. VEET® said, “Moisturizing Facial Cream is enriched with Vitamin E to leave your feeling beautifully soft and smooth.” Is that so? I believe, instead, that the opaque nature of this substance (at least when you first apply it) serves as a kind of spackle to hide the hideous sores and lesions that may have resulted from the treatment; then one doesn’t go into immediate shock. The cream hurt like hell, too.

I have learned SO MUCH (as usual, the hard way). Another caution from the package is, “After use, wait 24 hours before applying an antiperspirant, perfume or astringent lotion.” Believe me, there was NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER that I was going to apply “astringent lotion” to my face. If water and AIR hurt my face, anything astringent was RIGHT OUT. I am just not enough of a masochist as to splash gruesome sores with – say – isopropyl alcohol. Yes, call me “WIMPY” and while you’re at it put a hold on those bamboo splinters to shove under my fingernails.

The embarrassing thing (as usual) is that it was my fault. It says – IN BOLD – right on the package, “Failure to follow use directions and precautions may result in chemical burns.” They ain’t whistlin’ Dixie.

True enough, some people might choose to blame repulsive disfigurement on the product, but I believe the old adage, “A bad carpenter blames his tools.” Wait – or is that, “A crappy artist shouldn’t blame the paint.” No… Maybe it’s, “Blame YOURSELF, not your TOOL, Guys.” You get the idea.

Here’s a case in point. While I was searching for an image of the VEET® Facial Cream Kit I ran across a complaint registered with the Consumer Complaints Division of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, U. S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Cosmetics and Colors. There, in a table of adverse reactions to various products, was a complaint for THIS VERY PRODUCT. They have numbers indicating the “Code Injury Complaint” and the “Code Body Part.” These were the two “Code Injury Complaint” i.d.’s indicated:

14 Dermatitis (to include rash, redness, swelling, blisters, sores, weeping, lumps, inflammation, sunburn, chemical burn, and irritation)

19 Pain (to include itching, stinging, burning, soreness, and tingling)

Sounds about right. EXCEPT, when I found out which “Code Body Part” designated, any sympathy I might have felt for the complainant evaporated. They had put the product all over their LEGS. Mind you, though this product (theoretically) shouldn’t cause a problem with leg hair, it is intended to be used on relatively small areas at one time (hence “facial”). There’s no WAY you could apply it to your legs and remove it within the recommended period of time. Moreover, I sincerely doubt that they patch tested. What an idiot.

After my wanton disregard of the aforementioned cautions, I thought it best to continue to follow all cautions TO THE LETTER. And, since the package said, “If irritation persists consult a physician or call a Poison Control Center,” I called my doctor today (I mean yesterday). Luckily, I communicated with her THROUGH her nurse. I’ve suffered enough recent humiliations with my doctor – and I just love her – with a combination of stupid things that I did and with some potentially serious issues that I injudiciously let slide until they got to a point that they still might have some serious ramifications. And that’s all I’m saying about THAT, as the select few who HAVE heard about these issues have heard enough for the WHOLE WORLD (besides, the partially self-inflicted papule on my left breast has healed, and despite the temptation some days to do so, I am NOT going to blog about my nether regions. At least not right now).

My physician suggested cortisone cream, which I’m sure will help eventually, and I’m currently having some luck with “first aid & burn cream” (it has antiseptic to prevent infection AND it has Lidocaine, which is an analgesic).

Still, I had to spend the last two nights sleeping in a recliner with my head carefully positioned on my travel pillow so that my face didn’t have to touch anything. I am a side sleeper by preference, and finally today I fashioned a system with sterile, nonstick gauze (a great deal of it – to be safe – like my concept of how many napkins – that’s serviettes for the “foreigners” – I need to use) so that I could put the less severely burned portion of my face against a normal pillow and take a nap.

In conclusion, I have a list of a few of the critical things I’ve learned, as well as a few questions:

  1. *Contains thioglycolate. ANY TIME that a chemical is mentioned in the DIRECTIONS and/or CAUTIONS (not just the ingredients) – even in such a casual way – that doesn’t bode well.

AND if they say even ONCE and especially if they mention MULTIPLE times a “Poison Control Center,” you are not dealing with something innocuous and mild like baby shampoo, “school” paste or whipped cream.

  • Stinging or Tingling Sensation = VERY VERY BAD = ADVERSE REACTION
  • If you do NOT have what might be called “Mediterranean” colouring and are, in fact, one of the WHITEST women in the world (SO white), leave the fuzz alone. It’s invisible; consider yourself lucky.
  • If you feel desperately compelled to mess with it, at least be judicious and resist the temptation to use industrial strength chemicals. Please avoid self-mutilation.
  • Facial chemical burns are extremely unattractive. When my voice student arrived yesterday morning I had to squelch my initial urges – which involved shrieking and dire warnings – and just left it at, “I have learned an object lesson; I should patch test. If you don’t want to look at me, I certainly understand. It’s gross.”I felt like going all Phantom of the Opera and screaming, “Don’t LOOK at me! I’m a monster – a MONSTER I tell you!!!
  • Why, Grettir, did you know how to pronounce “depilatory” when I did not and why were we even discussing it? I don’t remember.
  • Do you match the colour of your lipgloss to your outfit or to your chemical burns?