Mom Posts Photo of Little Boy’s Chemical Burns to Share the Dangers of Henna Tattoos

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Traditional henna tattoos are an ancient art and the results are often extremely beautiful. One can’t help but admire them. But not all “henna” tattoos are applied by people who know what they are doing, and in some cases those fun “temporary tattoos” tourists get can actually be dangerous. One mother just shared photos of the nasty reaction her son had to a fun, dragon-shaped “henna” tattoo he got while on vacation.

According to POPSUGAR, British mother Natasha Hamilton let her 6-year-old son get a dragon tattoo applied to his leg while they were on vacation. Everything was fine, but then a week later he went swimming in a pool back in the U.K., and this happened:



Several other parents replied to Hamilton’s tweet saying that the same thing had happened to their kids while on vacation. One mother showed her son’s dragon tattoo, and the itchy, dragon-shaped reaction he had for several months afterwards.



That mother’s words are very comforting, because Natasha Hamilton was legitimately worried that her son might have a permanent scar from that reaction, and these photos showed that the reaction does face away eventually. But one thing worth noting is that the black tattoo in that picture does not actually look like henna.

Henna is made from ground-up plant, and it’s applied as a paste that can temporarily dye skin, hair, nails, and other things. Henna itself is usually very safe to use, but real henna is brown, never black. Lately, though, some purveyors of “henna” tattoos have been using and advertising a product called “black henna” or “neutral henna,” which leaves black tattoos that are darker and longer-lasting than traditional henna.

Black henna is henna mixed with other ingredients, but those other ingredients can be dangerous and there’s no way of telling who will have a reaction to it, or when. Both the FDA and Britain’s NHS have warned against black henna tattoos, because they often contain high levels of a potentially dangerous chemical dye that is not approved for use on the skin.