Zucey shows the ulcers on her legs while sitting in her home in Mexico City, Mexico, on March 8, 2019.
Zucey Gil is a 50-year-old woman living in Mexico City with her two children and is being treated for human adjuvant disease. Zucey was 22 years old when she received her first mineral oil injections for cosmetic purposes from the owner (also a dermatologist) of the beauty clinic she worked for and whom offered to inject all of her employees for free. At the time injectables were all the rage, the majority of patients were seeking injections. Most of them are dead now states Zucey. Obsession over her own physique, Zucey has had five nose jobs and two eye contour treatments. After several years, ulcers and infections began to appear on her legs. Despite her condition and contrary to her doctors’ opinions, she decided to continue with the pregnancy of her second child. Today he is nine-years-old.
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