Henna tattoos are usually a safe way to temporarily mark your body - unless you have a severe reaction to one like 16 year-old Mary Bates.
While visiting Turkey Mary chose to get a temporary souvenir, a black henna tattoo on her left ankle. The small dreamcatcher design was fine at first but after a few days began to burn and scab!!
Henna tattoos are one of the safest forms of decorating your body, traditional henna is made from a flowering plant found in both Africa and Asia. Black henna however is synthetic and can occasionally contain unregulated chemicals!! Sadly for Mary the black henna used on her ankle contained such harmful chemicals, specifically paraphenylenediamine (PPD)- a substance that is not regulated by the European Union or the U.S Food and Drug Administration!
Black henna has previously been known to cause redness, blisters, loss of pigmentation and long term scarring, and in Mary's case resulted in a severe chemical burn. Upon her return to the UK she was referred to the specialist burns service at Westminster Hospital.
After the reaction Mary has now been advised to avoid hair dyes, which contains PPD, for the next 12 months! Mary herself is an aspiring model and makeup artist and hopes her skills could help cover her now scarred ankle!! We wish her a speedy recovery and all the best in her future career. Mary's case however is one among many and another reason to steer clear of black henna!!