And while Government – including the UK’s – try to find ways to combat the crime, one Yorkshire doctor says she’s invented a new line of defence.
Dr Almas Ahmed has spent the last decade formulating a compound which can be used to create the world’s first “acid proof” makeup.
The Bradford medic says she got the idea when she first heard about Katie Piper’s horrific ordeal.
The aspiring model had to rebuild her life after surviving an acid attack by her ex-boyfriend in March 2008 when she was just 24.
Dr Almas says her product, called Acarrier, has been shown in basic tests to prevent caustic materials from penetrating the skin, and she now aims to get approval from the UK government’s medicines watchdog so it can be marketed.
“Basic tests have shown that Acarrier works,” she told i.
“It offers protection from caustic materials and is waterproof and fire resistant – it has a very high melting point.
“The beauty of it is that no-one knows you’re wearing it. It looks, feels, smells, just like regular make-up, yet it’s completely heat-proof and acid-proof.
“With rises in acid attacks I hope to be able to prevent others from going through the same horrific ordeal that Katie Piper and many others have been through.”
Rise in attacks
After medical school, Dr Ahmed started her career as a research physician in neurosurgery at The Royal London Hospital, and has spent the last four years working in medical research, having worked on over 45 clinical trials.
She now works on a freelance basis as a chief investigating officer at Discogel, a company producing gel prostheses for spinal discs.
The 32-year-old says she’s ploughed £60,000 of her own money into Acarrier which has become her “passion” .
“I first came up with the idea when I was in university and heard about Katie Piper on the news,” she said.
“Then I’ve been pushed on to figure out how to do it by seeing how acid attacks are such a major problem in counties such as India where they’ve sadly become normal.
“Bangladesh introduced the death penalty to punish perpetrators but it still happens there. Now the UK has one of the highest rates of acid attacks per capita in the world.
“I went to London, which has seen the worst, for a meeting the other day and my father suggested I carry a 2L bottle of water in case of an acid attack. It’s worrying times and I hope I can bring a product to market that helps people feel safer.”
Getting to market
Dr Almas Ahmed Dr Ahmed has started a GoFundMe page with a target of raising £250,000 to fund a clinic trail in the UK.
“Acarrier has passed basic tests in India – that’s involved testing how it works on items such as wood and meat.
“The UK’s regulatory system is extremely robust and it will have to go through similar tests here and then on animals. We know it works, they will just get lightly splashed.”
Dr Ahmed said that she cannot at this stage reveal details of her formula for confidentially reasons.
She submitted her patent last month.
“I need funding because labs want a lot of money to carry the testing out. The actual testing could take just a month but the process of securing a patent can take up to three years.
“I’ve had pharma and make-up companies interested in my product. I would love to work with a company that has a charitable aim, to be able to help victims of acid attacks.
“Women in India who have been maimed are social outcasts and are left to beg and that’s just not right.”
Dr Ahmed is taking pre-orders here. Dr Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said: “It’s difficult to comment on a product like this without seeing the science behind it. However, it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future.”
This piece originally appeared on the i News