Unwanted skin infections, metal toxicity, and even cancer… Those are just some of the reasons we remain wary of tattoos and their health risks. One thing we can go easier on is temporary tattoos. Kids love them, they’re risk-free, and only last a few days – at least that’s what 7-year-old Madison Gulliver’s father thought.
While on vacation in Egypt, the Gulliver family was staying in a four-star hotel which had a salon that offers quite beautiful temporary black henna tattoos. After the mother, Sylvia, spent two vacation days in hospital due to a gall bladder infection, the father decided to treat his kids Madison and 9-year-old Sebastien to a pair of black henna tattoos.
With seemingly little cause for concern, the two kids got artistic designs that went from the middle of their forearms down to their fingers. To the parents’ surprise, Sebastien immediately started complaining that his skin was itching and washed off the black dye.
Shortly after, Madison had the same complaint, except her skin reaction was much more severe. The skin underneath the tattooed area broke out in blisters, so the parents rushed her to emergency.
“[Madison] is potentially scarred for life after getting a black henna tattoo,” said her father.  “The tattoo was done in the hotel’s salon and they claim it’s not the henna and that it’s my daughter’s skin. She has blisters from her finger to her elbow and is in so much pain.”
After having her wound tended to and her blisters cut away, doctors revealed that black dye used in some henna tattoos can harbor unsafe levels of toxic chemicals. In fact, after looking at the pH levels in Madison’s blisters, they reported she suffered from chemical burns. But there is one ingredient in particular you need to watch out for: paraphenylenediamine.