A 23-year-old mum from Southend has admitted that she had never been so scared in her entire life after the front of her scalp tore right across her forehead last week. Doctors at Southend Hospital said her chosen hairstyle for the last ten years of using a scrunchie to pull her hair back as tightly as possible had damaged the skin beyond repair – she now wants other local women to realise the dangers of this ‘life threatening hairstyle.’

Hayleigh Scratt spoke to our Chief Reporter about her ordeal, and she said: ‘It’s always a big competition between me and my friends to see whose hairline can be pulled back the most, and everyone knows that it is a way of staking your claim to be the alpha female of Essex. Unfortunately, things got a little bit out of hand last week, and I bought something called a Super Titanium Scrunchie from eBay – the advert said that it is the world’s strongest hair accessory. I was heading into town to meet Chantelle and Sha Shaquan, and so I pulled my hair back, put on the scrunchie and turned it on before leaving the house with my 3-year-old daughter Kayleigh.’

Ms Scratt continued: ‘Once I met them and their kids by the Odeon, I noticed that my scrunchie was making a loud buzzing noise and I felt a sharp pain right across my forehead. All of a sudden, Sha Shaquan said that she could see blood gushing down my head, and after that all I can remember is waking up in Southend Hospital later that evening. The doctor told me I had been for an emergency skin graft, and before I was sent home a plastic surgeon said that I might need up to five years of operations before my forehead returns to a normal size again. I am terrified of being single forever.’

David Racaille, head of Southend Trading Standards, said: ‘While we understand that so many women in Essex are desperate to have their hair pulled back further than ever before to express their dominance over all others, they have to remember that a number of these electronic scrunchies have not been tested and approved for use within the United Kingdom. Unless something is done to stop these products from flooding the market, we predict a sharp rise in the amount of ladies arriving in hospital with torn foreheads in the near future.’