Girl left scarred after innocent holiday activity goes wrong

A devastated mum is sending a warning to fellow parents following her daughter's painful experience.

A mum fears her daughter will be "scarred for life" from a black henna tattoo, after it caused her to be hospitalised with oozing chemical burns.

Kirsty Newton, 37, let daughter Matilda get the temporary ink while staying at an all-inclusive Turkish hotel last month. The excited seven-year-old chose a 3cm-tall butterfly design that she'd drawn onto her right forearm a week into their family holiday.

Initially, the tattoo was fine, and it was only when the family-of-four returned home to England from their $7,400 trip that Matilda's butterfly print became red and itchy and began to burn her skin.

Girl with henna tattoo scar on arm; Close-up of henna tattoo scar in the shape of a butterfly
Matilda's dream of getting a henna tattoo has turned into a nightmare. Source: Kennedy News and Media

When the raised burn started to crack and bleed, Kirsty rushed Matilda to the hospital, where doctors confirmed she was having an allergic reaction to the black henna. There, she was prescribed anti-allergy tablets, steroid and antibiotic creams.

Reaction to chemical in black henna

The mum-of-two says the burn was caused by paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a chemical commonly found in dark hair dyes, and is a known allergen to as many as one in five people. Unlike natural henna, which tends to be brown or mahogany in colour, black henna is adulterated with PPD.

"She had been sick on Thursday night, which the doctors said could have been part of the reaction, and she had a rash on her tummy too," explained Kirsty.

Although Kirsty is hopeful the medication will start to heal Matilda's scorched skin, she fears the schoolgirl may be left with an outline of the butterfly shape on her arm forever. "I'm worried that it's going to scar for life. It's awful and concerning, especially if it scars. It worries me that it's a very visible place on her arm," Kirsty shared.

"The hospital said it was an allergic reaction to the black henna used and she won't be able to use hair dye when she's older. We weren't informed it was black henna, the tattoo stand just advertised henna tattoos."

Family travelling on plane; Henna tattoo scar on girl's arm
Matilda returned from her holiday in Turkey with a rather painful and long-lasting souvenir. Source: Kennedy News and Media

Warning to fellow parents

Following the incident, Kirsty posted photos of Matilda's butterfly burn on social media to inform other parents about the dangers of black henna. She also claims the hotel didn't offer a skin test prior to painting on the black henna outline.

"Please be cautious when letting your children get henna tattoos," she said. "I want to raise awareness of what happened as lots of children at the hotel were getting henna done.

"People need to know what happened and make sure they have skin tests done... before having one of these done. Matilda should have had a skin test done before, but this wasn't offered."

Sophie Watson/Kennedy News and Media

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