A 16 year-old prom queen says her modelling dreams have been ruined by a holiday henna tattoo which severely burnt her skin and scarred her for life.
Mary Bates had a dreamcatcher tattooed on her left leg in black henna at the start of her first break with friends in Turkey.
But hours after she had it retouched a week later, it began to seep and swell and Mary discovered the ink contained paraphenylenediamine (PPD) – a strictly controlled substance in the EU.
On the plane home Mary noticed the skin on her leg had started to crack open and she had treatment after returning home in July.
Following a week of treating it as a wound medics realised it was more serious and Mary was referred to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital specialist burns service.
Her skin is now left permanently damaged from chemical burns and she is considering dropping out of a fashion show this month because she does not feel comfortable showing her injury.
The teenager from St Albans, Hertfordshire, will never be able to dye her hair due to the risk of anaphylactic shock from PPD – often found in hair dye.
Devastated Mary, who is waiting for her GCSE results this week, said: “I’ve had hennas on my hands before which have been fine and I think they are really pretty.
“A week after this one bits of my skin were coming off it was just disgusting as it looked like open flesh.
“The burns doctors said it was the worst black henna injury they had ever seen.
“I wanted to show off my tan but I couldn’t wear dresses as I had this big burn I wanted to cover up. I felt a bit unglamourous.”
She added: “I had aspirations to be a model in the future and I do enjoy it a lot so it’s going to be hard.
“It is not very attractive and I won’t be able to have my hair done which they usually do in modelling.
“Who is going to pick me over a model with a normal leg?
“If I thought I was going to get a scar, I did not think it was from something like this.”
Mary is hoping to study theatrical hair and make up, arts, and photography at college in September and hopes to become a movie make up artist.
She said: “I like doing theatrical make up and eventually learning how to do all the scars for the movies.
“Hopefully, I will be able to cover up my scar if I get good enough at it.”
Her mother, Lisa, 43, who helped Mary book the holiday on Loveholidays.com, is calling on the company to warn guests about the seafront tattoo shop.
She said: “The long lasting effects of exposure to PPD chemical is very serious and will be something she will need to consider.
“She cannot go in the sun for at least two years without protection which is going to be very restricting for her.
“Even though this shop wasn’t in the resort, I think the hotel should warn guests about the risk.
“Holiday companies in general need to do more.”