British doctor invents acid attack-proof makeup: Here’s why it is important

A UK-based doctor said that she has developed acid-proof makeup as a protection against acid attacks. Dr. Almas Ahmed has spent the last 10 years creating a formula resistant to acid that can be used in any kind of makeup.

Dr. Ahmed was moved by Katie Piper, a victim of a sulphuric acid-attack from her ex-boyfriend Stefan Sylvestre in 2008, reports The Independent. Piper was blinded and left with facial injuries— consequences that Dr. Ahmed is trying to prevent.

Dr. Ahmed told Mirror that she had already started researching acid-proof makeup 10 years ago. After hearing about Piper being attacked, Dr. Ahmed’s father told her to carry two litres of bicarbonate water when she travelled to London.

“He said: ‘If somebody attacks you, just douse it on your face and it should neutralise the acid… I was really shocked that my dad was worrying about that. That made me revisit the research and finish it off”, says Dr. Ahmed.

The formula she developed can be used in any makeup products and prevents disfigurement in the aftermath of an attack.

“Traditional makeup does not repel acid at all,” she told Mirror. “With my makeup range, you just put it on as normal, but if somebody throws acid on you, all you do is rinse it off.

It is also vegan and waterproof, has a high boiling point of 400 degrees and does not alter tints or colours in makeup products that are already produced.

“It works very well. It blends like a normal foundation. You can apply it to different things, like eyeliners, mascaras, lipsticks and nail varnishes”, said Dr. Ahmed.

Her makeup line with this new formula will be available in stores in India and middle eastern countries by 2020.

Dr. Ahmed’s book, Acarrier Secrets to Creating An Acid-Proof Makeup, is also available for purchase on Kindle through Amazon.

Acid attacks in London have been on the rise for the past six years.

Data from London’s Metropolitan Police shows close to 500 cases of acid attacks in 2017. This figure is a sharp increase from the 77 cases in 2012, 131 in 2013, and 120 in 2014, found CNN.

Acid attacks in South Asia are also an unfortunate, common reality.

Acid attacks in India

Pia Sharma, from Make Love Not Scars, a rehabilitation organisation acid attack survivors, said that acid attacks in India originate from wanting ownership of women who reject their advances.

“Acid attacks stem from a mentality that says, ‘If I can’t have her, no one can’”, explained Sharma. In India, acid attacks are common because of the easy access to cheap chemicals and acids.

A Reuters report found that Indian stores readily sell substances with harmful acids, like cleaning fluids, for as cheap as Rs. 20 per litre.

Even after basic recovery, acid-attack survivors struggle with treatment, especially cosmetic restrictive surgery that is often times extremely expensive. Some reports say that cosmetic surgery for acid attack survivors costs Rs. 45 lakh.

In this context, Dr. Ahmed’s research on acid-proof compounds is exceedingly helpful. Her formula acts like a barrier between the acid and skin, allowing a survivor to simply rinse off the acid and remain unharmed.

Dr. Ahmed’s makeup formula would be a boon to women vulnerable to acid attacks in South Asia.

Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius

Acid attackWomen's safety