An American holidaymaker was left feeling ‘claustrophobic’ in her own skin after a holiday henna tattoo left her with foot-long horror burns.

Amanda Drish-Adolf’s intricate design when horribly wrong while visiting Thailand during a pre-children ‘bucket list’ trip with husband Nick Adolf last month.

Violinist Amanda, 30, had a half-sleeve mandala-style design inked on her left arm – from the top of her shoulder down to her elbow – which ended up oozing a ‘clear liquid’ and causing ‘grapefruit-size’ swelling.

Two days after the tattoo, Amanda – who was initially thrilled with the ‘very dark’ design – developed a burn on her arm that erupted into a number of blisters, leaving her needing hospital treatment.

According to the Kennedy News Agency, Amanda was left with a 13-inch by five-inch chemical burn which staff treated by popping the blisters and scrubbing off the fluid-filled bumps, leaving her in ‘awful pain’.

The incident ruined her dream trip with IT programmer Nick, 30, and the chance of having ‘special holiday times’.



Amanda, from Des Moines, Iowa, explained: ‘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 localised swelling we knew we had to go to the emergency room.’

Recalling the hospital treatment, she added: ‘Not only did she pop the blisters but she scrubbed all the tops of the blisters off with saline and antibiotic solution.

‘It took about half an hour to do, the pain was just awful and I was crying.

‘Every time she took a cotton pad off my arm it was covered in black, my body was rejecting the dye.’

Amanda had visited a pop-up vendor near their Bangkok hotel on Friday January 24 and paid 1,000 Thai Baht (around £25) for the intricate work that took an hour to complete.

After the reaction, she visited a pharmacy, picked up some medication and followed health advice, before realising she needed hospital treatment four days later when the swelling worsened.

She continued: ‘I got full-on anxiety looking down at my arm and seeing what it looked like, it was disgusting.

‘I was also having a lot of claustrophobic issues. Because my skin was so swollen I was claustrophobic in my skin and then having my arm wrapped tightly was making me very anxious.



‘Also you want to have special holiday times with your husband and when you feel disgusting that doesn’t really happen.’

Concerned medics at the hospital applied antiseptic cream, bandaged the affected area and asked her to return for two follow-up hospital appointment, at a total cost of $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 the pair had to rock climb, swim, snorkel and kayak and instead sat on the beach or in their hotel room watching Netflix.

Amanda said: ‘Looking at all those crystal clear waters and knowing I couldn’t swim and do the things I wanted to do was heart-breaking, this was our big Asia trip we were taking before having kids.

‘Nick got to go snorkelling and kayaking.

‘He felt guilty but I still wanted him to experience everything he could.’

She 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.

Amanda, who has had hennas before, said she never had a reaction like it before and added: ‘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 (and) realised we had a problem.’

Now home, Amanda is urging people to avoid black henna and only get natural henna artwork providing the artist can tell you the ingredients in it.

She believes the scar is unlikely to be ‘long-term’.

The British Skin Foundation says it ‘strongly recommends avoiding black henna temporary tattoos at all costs.’