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"Henna" tattoos

Perth, Australia
Destination Expert
for Cambodia
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178 reviews
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"Henna" tattoos

For those who missed it, there was an article in the West Australian newspaper very recently about the dangers of getting henna tattoos in Bali. It seems that henna is rarely used and more often than not they use some sort of concoction which is black rather than brownish red, which is true henna. Apparently there are properties in the black brew which very often cause serious infections and ultimately scarring. Quite often these problems don't surface until some days or even weeks after the work has been done. Sorry, but I can't remember the chemicals listed in the article.

Unfortunately some parents allow their children to have these drawings done and then have to struggle with the results for some time when back at home. It would probably be wise to avoid the temptation of being "cool". Infections and scarring are not cool.

Eaton, Australia
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for Broome, Bunbury
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1. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Too true Kat...and it's one of those things, which is so bad, it should be part of on-board travel advice to read, before arriving in Bali...

Australia
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for Bali, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Tuban, Ubud
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2. Re: "Henna" tattoos

This is a good reminder, there have been many people report back on the forum after it is too late and they have had terrible reactions to the PPD. (paraphenylenediamine) This is used in hair dyes.

Unfortunately the tattoos are advertised as henna but are not. The PPD causes blisters, burns and scarring in some people.

I put a warning up on TA Health and Safety link some time back, If only more people would read about this before getting these temporary tattoos.

tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g294226-s206/Bali:…

Lombok, Indonesia
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3. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Snookystraveltips is quite correct, it is the use of compounds commonly found in hair dye that is the issue here.

Best not to experiment with them, I have seen some very nasty outcomes, both amongst the local community, and visitors.

Often it does not become apparent for a few days, then it can become quite nasty, and may cause temporary or permanent scaring.

Long term sensitivity to the chemicals is another irksome feature for some unfortunate participants.

Good work TK for bringing this forward again, it is something that really does warrant some regular reminders here.

These 'tattoos' are often offered to visitors on both Bali and Lombok, and some people actually seek them out.

Edited: 08 September 2013, 09:31
Dublin, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Seminyak, Ubud, Bali, Dublin
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4. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Very good reminder Travelkat, the pics of those scars in newpapers especially on children are awful.

Newcastle, Australia
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22 reviews
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5. Re: "Henna" tattoos

I have never allowed my children to have them.

I sat down and explained to them before leaving for overseas why they couldn't have them. I even showed them some of the photos of the kids that had reactions.

Never an issue as they don't and won't ask.

I really do feel for the families that are caught out by this seemingly harmless holiday fun for the kids :(

PERTH
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1,239 posts
55 reviews
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6. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Yes guilty as charged, I tried one once ,never again. Carried the scar for months.

Perth, Australia
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7. Re: "Henna" tattoos

I haven't had a temporary tattoo done for may years but both myself and my kids have all had them without problems. The guy on the beach who always did ours recommended we have a spot of the dye on our foot and see if there is a reaction within a couple of days. There never was, but we may have been just lucky. I saw the pictures of the burns the young boy in Perth suffered and they look awful. Hopefully he didn't suffer much and the scars will clear up eventually.

When my kids were younger and had the tattoos each trip (more than ten years ago) everyone seemed to get them and I don't remember the issues being reported in later years. Maybe we just didn't hear about the problems or the more recent products contain something different. Its a shame because my kids loved them. I certainly hope no-one else suffers any adverse reactions.

Leeds, UK
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for Bali
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8. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Thanks for the reminder my feline friend. Nothing wrong with henna if it's the natural red/brown variety, but the so-called black henna can cause nasty chemical burns and severe allergic reactions. Hence the principle of a patch test when using chemical hair dyes to test for sensitivity.

Sydney Australia
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9. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Don't do it.

My kids had them done when they were little (over ten years ago so it been happening for a long time).

At the time I knew nothing about them.

All three were scarred for quite some time.

I felt terrible!

Perth, Australia
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for Cambodia
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10. Re: "Henna" tattoos

Jut thought I'd mention that the article I read went on to advise that the idea of having a 'test' spot to see if there was going to be any reaction to the product being used was useless, as very often nothing is evident until days later.

The very strong advice from doctors who had been interviewed for the article was 'don't do it', and again according to this article, there have been a great many people returning to Perth from Bali with serious problems which can often take months to repair after having submitted themselves or their children to these procedures.

Good on you Kiajas for being strong and wise enough to warn your children.

Edited: 10 September 2013, 11:09