A holidaymaker was left feeling ‘claustrophobic’ in her own skin after a holiday black henna tattoo left her with foot-long horror chemical burns.
Amanda Drish-Adolf, 30, decided to get the large intricate design while visiting Bangkok during an action-packed ‘bucket list’ trip to Thailand with husband Nick Adolf, 30, last month.
Violinist Amanda had a half-sleeve mandala-style design inked on her left arm – from the top of her shoulder down to her elbow.
Hours later the black pigment flaked off and thrilled Amanda flaunted the dark design on her arm as she and IT programmer Nick explored the capital.
But two days later Amanda spotted she had developed a chemical burn on her arm that erupted in countless oozing blisters, leaving her needing hospital treatment.
Amanda was left with a 13-inch x five-inch chemical burn that staff treated by popping the blisters and then scrubbing off the top of the fluid-filled bumps.
Concerned medics then applied antiseptic cream, bandaged the affected area and asked her to return for two follow-up hospital appointment, which in total cost $692.
It’s believed that the burn was caused by Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) – a chemical commonly found in black henna and dark hair dyes.
Amanda, who is also a manager of education and community engagement manager at an orchestra, was forced to cancel plans they had to rock climb, swim, snorkel and kayak and instead sat on the beach or in their hotel room watching Netflix.
Amanda, from Des Moines, Iowa, said: ‘We’d really looked forward to it, it was a bucket list trip we’d picked specifically because of the beaches.
‘Looking at all those crystal clear waters and knowing I couldn’t swim and do the things I wanted to do was heartbreaking, this was our big Asia trip we were taking before having kids.
‘I was hoping to go rock climbing, snorkelling and kayaking on our trip but couldn’t. Nick got to go snorkelling and kayaking while I sat on the beach or in the hotel watching Netflix.
Amanda visited a pop-up vendor near their hotel on Friday January 24th and paid 1,000 Thai Baht ($30USD) for the intricate design that took an hour to complete.
Musician Amanda said it felt as though her skin was ‘burning’ as the intricate design was painted onto her skin, but was assured it was a normal sensation.
‘It was fine for 24 hours, I had no reaction, but the next day my arm started feeling hot to touch and little blisters popped up.
‘I was concerned as I thought maybe I’d got sunburn on it, and when I popped the blisters clear liquid came out of them.
‘In the evening the larger part of my arm that was coloured started to blister and that’s when I started to do my research about skin reactions to black henna.
‘That’s when I realised we had a problem.’
That evening the couple visited a pharmacy and picked up saline solution, anti-itch cream and a steroid cream to treat the area.
Amanda diligently washed the area in bottled water, applied the creams and wrapped the affected areas in bandages for two days.
Despite taking care of the affected area, the couple realized Amanda needed hospital treatment on Tuesday night when her hands, feet and arms started swelling up.
Amanda said: ‘I was washing the thing constantly, keeping it wrapped and out of the sun.
‘My hands and feet were swollen and when I was letting my arm air on the Tuesday evening I looked down and on the underside of my elbow there was a grapefruit-sized swelling.
‘It was massive and it had a hard core in the middle.
‘Once we saw that specific localized swelling we knew we had to go to the emergency room.’
The couple went to a nearby hospital at 10.30pm where Amanda’s arm was cleaned and dressed in bandages that would help draw out the infection.
The following day Amanda’s blisters were popped and cleaned using cotton pads and antibiotic solution and then carefully wrapped in bandages.
British Skin Foundation spokesperson Lisa Bickerstaffe said: ‘Tourists don’t always realize that ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos contain para-phenylenediamine (PPD) – a substance found in hair dye – which can lead to blistering, burns, scarring and even severe allergic reactions when used on the skin in this way.
‘The British Skin Foundation strongly recommends avoiding ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos at all costs.
‘It’s not worth risking your skin health now or in the future, in addition to ruining your holiday.’