• Australian holidaymakers are too often getting burns and scars from tattoos
  • Children as young as five are given tattoos on holiday with black henna dye
  • Allergic reactions mean many get chemical burns that can scar forever
  • Victims shared horror stories as doctors issued warning to parents on holiday

Doctors are warning tourists to avoid letting their kids get black henna tattoos on school holidays or risk horrific burns and permanent scarring.

Australian holidaymakers to Bali and other Asian destinations often get temporary tattoos on their trip, even for children as young as five.

However, some artists use a black dye laced with paraphenylenediamine (PPD) which can cause cause allergic reactions, blisters, open sores, and scarring.

Dr Ryan Harvey from House Call Doctors said patients suffered extreme allergic reactions that caused chemical burns to the skin.

‘Unlike here in Australia, there may not be any regulation of what goes into the dye, and children in particular can have extreme reactions that can cause blistering, open sores and a chemical burn,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘While many parents think getting a temporary henna tattoo is harmless holiday fun, it can lead to permanent scarring.’

Erin Gutschlag, from the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide, said her eight-year-old daughter suffered burns to her leg from a black henna tattoo on Bali’s Kuta Beach a month ago.

‘There were no signs of reaction until four or five days later when it became itchy and a couple of spots appeared,’ she said.

‘It very quickly turned to the raised red, itchy, sore and then blistery sore.’

Ms Gutschlag said there was a high risk the burn in a shape of a flower across her whole right lower leg could leave a permanent scar.

‘It is drying out and scabbing now so we have to keep applying creams and hope it doesn’t scar,’ she said.

‘She can now be allergic to hair dye or even some sunscreen in the future because of this exposure.’

The worried mother said she had no idea of the possible side effects of black henna tattoos and warned other parents not to make the same mistake.

‘Its not worth the risk. If you are not 100 per cent sure its not completely natural, don’t do it,’ she said.  

Dozens of other Australians on Tuesday posted photos of their own or their children’s painful burns, some of which were still there as scars. 

Tom Birkin said he was burned after getting a Mike Tyson-style black henna tattoo on his face and it took eight months to heal.

‘Don’t get them done, it was a big mistake and I was in hospital seven days,’ he said.

PPD is banned for use on skin in Australia, but other victims even said they were hurt by tattoos at festivals and even a community fair held at a primary school. 

Dr Harvey said the first thing to do was to immediately running the area under cool water to treat the chemical burn.

‘If it is an allergic reaction, the patient may need antihistamine, a topical steroid cream or a steroid tablet to treat the burn,’ he said.

‘It depends on the extent of the burn but if it covers a large percentage of the body, particularly in children, they may need to be observed in hospital so they don’t go into shock.

‘Keep up your fluid intake and stay hydrated because all the fluid in your body will rush to the burn site.’ 

Dr Harvey said natural henna never contains PPD, it is entirely made of plant-based ingredients, including eucalyptus. 

‘The clear difference is real henna is never black, but rather an orange colour with a red or brown tint to it,’ he said.

‘Any very dark temporary tattoo should be treated with caution. Black henna tattoos are readily available in many countries, therefore it is important to be extra vigilant as many tattoo places will not inform tourists that black henna is being used.’

Original Source: Daily Mail Australia | 9 July 2019