Getting a henna tattoo may seem like a completely innocent and commonplace way to have fun and express yourself. For most people, there is nothing permanent about them.
However, one family had an experience with henna tattoos that may have made a permanent impact on their 7-year-old daughter, Madison Gulliver. It all started after her mother fell ill on a family vacation.
While staying at a hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, Mom Gulliver suffered from a gallbladder infection and had to go to the hospital. Her son and daughter stayed by her side without complaining.
As a reward for tending to their mother so well, their father took them to the hotel salon to get temporary, black henna tattoos. Madison’s brother, Sebastian, 9, complained that his tattoo was itchy, so they washed it off.
Madison did not have any complaints until they arrived home in England. She began to complain that her tattoo was itchy, and her parents noticed that a red rash was developing on her arm.
When it started to blister, her parents became very concerned. They began doing some research which prompted them to take her to the doctor.
After steroid cream was not effective, she was rushed to the emergency room and then to the Salisbury District Hospital burn specialists. The doctors found para-phenylenediamine in high levels in Madison’s burns.
PPD is commonly added to henna to make the tattoos appear darker. Apparently, there was enough PPD added to the henna used on Madison’s tattoo that it caused an adverse reaction.
The blisters on Madison’s arm were so thick that burn specialists actually had to cut off her blisters in order to treat the burns underneath. Madison’s dad said she was very brave through the whole ordeal.
“She wanted to see what they were doing so we couldn’t get her to look away. She was really good and kept saying, ‘you’ve missed one,’” he said.