Meet the doctor who figured out how to remove Gorilla Glue from hair
The last few weeks have been both a test of fortitude and a learning experience for Tessica Brown. Brown is the Louisiana woman who used Gorilla Glue instead of hair spray on her hair and went to the internet to answer the question: How to remove Gorilla Glue from her hair?
Spray to stay
Brown became a sensation last week after posting a video on TikTok in which she called the decision to use the adhesive spray a “bad, bad, bad idea.” More than 30 million people viewed the video there, along with countless more on Instagram & Twitter. Viewers clamored for updates and flooded her posts with words of encouragement (and criticism), all while piling on suggestions for how to help. But nothing worked.
Finally this week, more than a month after her mishap, the glue is gone from Brown’s hair thanks to a Los Angeles plastic surgeon who spent hours using a homemade solvent to get the job done. “It went from scary, to terrifying to pretty much being tortured,” Brown, 40, said in an interview with the New York Times. “And at this point, a big relief.”
Brown, who runs a daycare and a dance team, the Dazzling Divaz, in Violet, Louisiana, said that if she could go back to the day it all began she would have worn a hat instead.
While rushing to get ready back in January, Brown realized she had run out of her usual hair spray, Got2b Glued. Rushing, she spotted a bottle of Gorilla Spray Adhesive. She thought that by the time she got home that night she would be able to wash it out. A month later, it still hadn’t budged.
Social media monsoon
Desperate, Brown turned to social media “to see if somebody out there could tell me what I can use to get this off my head,” she said.
Skin & hair experts weighed in, and celebrities offered sympathy. Brown tried many of the recommended treatments — oils, acetone, apple cider vinegar — but nothing worked. As the days went on, she said, it felt like her ponytail was getting tighter & tighter: like “red ants were dancing on my skull.” She finally went to the hospital where they gave her acetone treatments.
“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 the procedure would likely take 20 hours, so she asked to continue the treatment at home with the help of her mother & sisters.
They’d made little progress when she heard from Dr. Michael Obeng, a plastic surgeon from Los Angeles, who kindly offered to remove the glue from her head free of charge. He performed the procedure on February 10 with Brown under light anesthesia. Afterward, she was able to comb through her hair with her fingers.
“Dr. Obeng got every bit of it out,” Brown said, adding that he’ll give her a few more scalp treatments to prevent her hair from falling out, she said.
In an interview with TMZ after the surgery, Dr. Obeng said he created a solvent to dissolve polyurethane, the main active ingredient in Gorilla Glue, made of medical-grade adhesive remover, aloe vera, olive oil, and a little bit of acetone. He tested the concoction on a skull outfitted with real hair & extensions that he matted down with Gorilla Spray Adhesive.
“I have a chemistry background, so I knew that any compound can be broken down,” Dr. Obeng said in the video. He said that the surgery “went well,” and that Ms. Brown was lucky not to have been severely injured on her scalp, other than some irritation from chemical treatments she’d used.
Dr. Obeng also expressed sympathy for Brown in this situation, as well as warned others to treat this story as a cautionary tale. “She’s been through a lot and I hope that you guys will learn from Tessica’s injuries or Tessica’s ordeal,” he said. “Make sure that any time you guys grab something, make sure you read it.”
We’re happy the whole miserable and terrifying ordeal worked out for Tessica Brown, and kudos to Dr. Micheal Obeng!