Sibel C. gives the impression that she has had several cosmetic applications herself. With pink, glittering artificial nails, she strokes her long, black hair away from her face, which she had just covered with a laminated sheet of paper. Covert for the photos that the reporters take of her before the trial begins. It is not clear whether the 25-year-old also had her own lips treated with hyaluronic acid – as she did illegally with 38 women. But at least it looks like it.

The Hamburg resident is accused of having injected hyaluronic acid into the facial area of ​​her customers in a total of 45 cases “without being a naturopath or otherwise authorized to do so”. The process, which starts on Friday at the Hamburg-Altona district court, is over quickly. Reading out the indictment takes up most of the time, as the public prosecutor describes each individual case in great detail. Almost all of the treatments involved the lips, but sometimes also the chin, under the eyes or nose. And very often the injections expired in a “painful way”.

Sibel C.’s customers, who, according to the indictment, were “interested in the cosmetic optimization of their faces”, independently became aware of Sibel C. via Instagram, where she continues to advertise her beauty salon. There and in her apartment she is said to have carried out the understatements without explaining that the 25-year-old “did not have the authorization to carry out the appropriate treatments and that these were associated with considerable health risks”. The women assumed that they would receive “qualified, valuable treatment” and would never have used the defendants’ services if they had known about the lack of qualifications. Sibel C. spent at least a hundred and often several hundred euros on the individual interventions. In legal terms: “A sustained source of income of significant magnitude”.

The accusations resulting from this are dangerous bodily harm, commercial fraud and violation of the Heilpraktikergesetz. Wrinkle injections with hyaluronic acid are part of aesthetic medicine and are subject to the alternative practitioner law in the practice of medicine. “Natural practitioners are generally allowed to carry out skin-damaging activities, for example injections, as part of their professional activity,” explains Ulrich Sümper, President of the Association of German Non-medical Practitioners to the star. In general, the following applies: Only doctors and non-medical practitioners are permitted to inject hyaluronic acid.

In contrast to cosmetic applications, medical expertise, in particular special anatomical knowledge, is essential for treatments with Hylauron. “They must demonstrably master the injection techniques used, know the risks and side effects of the treatment and explain the customers in detail about the risks, side effects and expected results of the treatment,” explains the expert. A detailed explanation is mandatory.

The customers at Sibel C. didn’t experience that. Instead, pain during and after the treatment, swelling and results that did not correspond aesthetically to the desired effect. The 25-year-old listens silently to the allegations. The lawyers sitting to her right and left are typing on their laptops. The judge stands up and grabs one of several black folders from a large box. The lawyers want to talk and send all the spectators out the door. The defendant also leaves the room. A cloud of perfume trailed behind her. Several minutes pass, then the spectators are allowed back into the hall for a short time before the process ends abruptly.

Because during the meeting it became clear that the defense attorney was missing some of the black folders when preparing for the hearing. Accordingly, he was not able to study all the documents relating to the indictment. He has to make up for that, so the hearing is adjourned, informs the judge and finally turns directly to the accused – with a warning. The process is very extensive and Sibel C. is already threatened with a heavy fine. “You are on very thin ice,” warns the lawyer. If there are indications that the beautician is still offering hyaluronic acid injections, an arrest warrant will follow, “because you can’t be stopped otherwise”.

Similar processes have happened in the past. Yvonne Mayer-Hackmann, naturopath and press spokeswoman for the “Natural Practitioners for Aesthetic Medicine” network, observed illegal activities taking over as early as 2019. “Hyaluron injections can pose a potential risk if the practitioner does not know the anatomical structures or product-specific features,” she said in 2019 in an article from “Paracelsus.de”, the portal of the Paracelsus Schools for Naturopathy. People who illegally offer injections have neither a medical license nor a license to practice medicine.

The fact that it is a reputable naturopath can often already be seen on the website. The information on legitimation should be found in the imprint of the website – also on social media, explains Yvonne Mayer-Hackmann in a statement from the Association of Independent Alternative Practitioners. Another trick that many scammers use is the designation “alternative practitioner in training”. But “even if this is the case, they are not allowed to carry out any treatments on the patient until they have received their license,” she emphasizes. If in doubt, you should have the permit and the certificates of the relevant specialist training shown to you during the consultation.

And the seriousness of a practitioner can also be seen in the conversation itself. Are you informed enough? Do you get enough time to think? Are possible complications mentioned? In addition, most naturopaths are organized in a professional association, says Ulrich Sümper. The association membership can be read, for example, from the practice sign, the invoices or from information material. The procedures used in practice are communicated to the relevant professional association. You can request these documents as a customer or patient. “The qualifications should emerge from this and be documented,” says the expert.

Sources: German Heilpraktikerschule, “Paracelsus.de”, Association of Independent Heilpraktiker