The past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride for Tessica Brown, Louisiana who used Gorilla Glue instead of hairspray one January day.
She rose to internet fame last week after posting a video on TikTok in which she called the decision to use the adhesive spray a “bad, bad, bad idea.” Over 30 million people have seen it and countless more on Instagram and Twitter. They demanded updates and flooded his posts with words of encouragement (and criticism), all while racking up suggestions on how to help. But nothing worked.
Finally, more than a month after her accident, Ms Brown had the glue removed from her hair, thanks to a Los Angeles plastic surgeon who spent hours on Wednesday using a homemade solvent to do the job.
“It has gone from scary to terrifying to torture,” Ms. Brown, 40, said in an interview Thursday. “And at this point, a great relief.”
Ms Brown, who runs a daycare and dance team, the Dazzling Divaz, in Violet, Louisiana, said if she could go back to the day it all began, she would have worn a hat instead.
As she rushed to get ready about a month ago, Ms Brown realized she no longer had her usual hairspray, Got2b Glued. While scrambling, she spotted a bottle of Gorilla Spray Adhesive, a permanent spray made by Gorilla Glue. She thought that by the time she got home that night, she would be able to wash it off. A month later, it hadn’t changed.
Desperate, she took to social media “to see if anyone could tell me what I can use to get rid of this,” she says.
Skin and hair experts stepped in and celebrities expressed sympathy. Neal Farinah, a well-known hairstylist whose client list includes Beyoncé, has offered to help her with scalp care or with a wig. Ms. Brown tried several of the recommended treatments – oils, acetone, apple cider vinegar – but nothing worked. As the days passed, she said, it was as if her ponytail got tighter and tighter: like “red ants were dancing on my head.”
On Saturday, she went to the emergency room, where nurses started acetone treatment, Ms. Brown said.
“It was burning to the point that my heart was beating too fast, so we had to keep stopping,” she said. A nurse told her that the procedure would probably take 20 hours, so she asked to continue treatment at home with the help of her mother and sisters.
But they had made little progress when she heard from Dr Michael Obeng, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, who offered to remove the glue from his head for free. He performed the procedure on Wednesday while she was under light anesthesia. Then she was able to comb her hair with her fingers.
“Dr. Obeng got it all, ”she said, adding that he was going to give her a few more scalp treatments to prevent her hair from falling out, she said.
Dr Obeng declined to speak through his publicist on Thursday, citing an exclusive interview he promised to an undisclosed outlet.
In an interview with TMZ on Wednesday after the operation, Dr Obeng said he created a solvent to dissolve polyurethane, the main active ingredient in Gorilla Glue, which is made up of medical grade adhesive remover, aloe vera, olive oil and a little acetone. He tested the concoction on a skull fitted with real hair and extensions that he tangled with Gorilla Spray Adhesive.
“I have a background in chemistry, so I knew that any compound can be broken down,” Dr Obeng said in the video. He said the surgery “went well” and Ms Brown was lucky that she had not suffered serious scalp injuries other than irritation from the chemical treatments she had used.
“She’s been through a lot and I hope you learn from Tessica’s injuries,” he said.
A spokesperson for Gorilla Glue said the company was happy Ms Brown was able to receive treatment and “we hope she’s doing well.” The spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Ms Brown’s experience had led to a discussion of whether to add hair to the list of unsuitable places to use Gorilla Glue Adhesive Spray on the product label .
Ms Brown said reports that she was planning to sue Gorilla Glue was false.
She said she learned from her hair accident, as well as her instant fame.
“Never use Gorilla Glue in your hair, for example,” she says. “If you don’t have the right product you need, I think you’d be better off without it.”
Ms Brown said she was unprepared for the negative reactions she received and wondered why she posted on social media, especially after her children were ridiculed at school .
“But then, if I had never posted it, it would always be in my head,” she says. “I wouldn’t be where I am right now, so I’m glad I posted it.”