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Maria Teresa Terrones y Alejos shows a photo of her swollen face caused by an injection of a foreign substance, while sitting in her home in Mexico City, Mexico, on June 22, 2019. “My face just started to swell. Then everyday just a little more until I looked like a monster. I was another person,” she said.<br />

María Teresa Terrones y Alejos is an 83 year old widow and mother of three. She occupies her own room in the garden of her son's house in Mexico City. At 40, she went with three friends to an alleged doctor who injected "vitamin oil" into her face. She said it was very inexpensive. Forty years later she experienced a strong inflammatory reaction on her face that caused her stress and anxiety for several months. Now, with cortisone-based treatment, the inflammation has greatly reduced. María Teresa is now overcoming the trauma with the support of her children.<br />

Human adjuvant disease, HAD, is a pathology caused by the injection of foreign substances for cosmetic purposes, and represents a serious health problem. Seeking simple, fast, cheap, painless and what some thought was a safe alternative to plastic surgery, the application of non-authorized modeling substances by untrained personnel has become a frequent practice. Nevertheless, the injections could lead - often several years after receiving them - to serious complications, even death. For some, it has caused irreversible damage to their physical health, self-esteem and quality of life. In Mexico, HAD is an existent problem. Between 2006 and 2018, Mexico City’s General Hospital has seen 4785 of these cases, according to their plastic and reconstructive surgery specialists. Photograph by Bénédicte Desrus