Henna tattoo burns holes in 7-year-old girl's skin

A British family is speaking out to warn others after their 7-year-old daughter was possibly scarred for life by a henna tattoo she got while on vacation.

Madison Gulliver, 7, was visiting Egypt with her parents, Martin and Sylvia Gulliver, and her brother, 9-year-old Sebastian, when her mother fell ill with a gall bladder infection and had to be rushed to the hospital, according to Metro.

The family ended up spending two days of their trip in the hospital and, as a way to reward their children for being so well behaved during the ordeal, Martin Gulliver says he paid for Madison and Sebastian to get henna tattoos at their hotel's spa.

After the Gullivers returned home on July 25, the skin under Madison's tattoo allegedly started to bubble up.

"We noticed there was a small patch on the top of the tattoo that was raised but we couldn't see any redness," Mr. Gulliver told the outlet. "The next morning the whole tattoo was starting to get itchy, so we washed it off which revealed a rash in the outline of the tattoo. It started to blister so we started looking on the internet about black henna tattoos and that's when we realized all the worrying things."

Madison's family quickly brought her to a doctor who gave them a steroid cream, but when her blisters continued to worsen, she was rushed to an emergency room.

Metro reports that after five separate visits to St. Mary's Hospital in London with no progress made, Madison was referred to burn specialists at Salisbury District Hospital, who were able to diagnose her with chemical burns.

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"They decided to treat the skin by removing the blisters, so they could access the burned skin underneath," Mr. Gulliver explained. "They thought they would be able to soak the blisters and rub them off, but that wasn't possible as they were so thick, so they had to cut them off."

It is believed that Madison's reaction was caused paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is a toxic chemical used in henna ink that is known to cause severe reactions in children.

PPD is contained in many other common products, such as hair dye, albeit in much smaller doses.

A spokesperson from the Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas, apologized to the family via email and told them that they will no longer be offering the tattoos.

But Madison's family says an apology is not enough.

They are hoping to raise awareness about the potential dangers of henna ink in order to save other children the pain and suffering their own daughter had to experience.

"She is potentially scarred for life after getting a black henna tattoo," her father said. "The message is: don't risk it."

Related: Chemicals in makeup

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Dangerous Chemicals in Your Drugstore Products and the Safe Alternatives
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Dangerous Chemicals in Your Drugstore Products and the Safe Alternatives

There are two places to find ingredients on a cosmetic package: under active ingredients and inactive ingredients. Active ingredients can interact actively with other ingredients, which may cause unwanted reactions. Inactive ingredients are ingredients that will not react with other ingredients. They are commonly safer to use.

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You can find triclosan in the list of active ingredients, which is found at the top of the label.

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Retinyl palmitate is an inactive ingredient in some daytime moisturizers. 

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If you are looking for a triclosan-free deodorant try Old Spice Pure Sport. But be careful: Old Spice Classic uses triclosan in their product!

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When you're scrubbing dishes, it's important to have gentle dishwasher soap that won't irritate or damage your skin which is why Dawn dishwasher soap is perfect and triclosan-free. While some of it's competitors still use the chemical triclosan, Dawn is gentle enough to use on animals and gentle enough to use on yourself!

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After scouring the drugstore, we found that some of our favorite handsoaps were using triclosan. We did find a few products using alternatives including Method Handsoap, which uses cocamidopropyl betaine, which is derived from the coconut and is less irritating to the skin.

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While some older brands of toothpaste still use triclosan, most toothpastes including Sensodyne have switched to using more natural products including sodium phosphate which acts as a cleansing unit.

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All-natural products are sometimes hard to find (and their labels can be misleading). The FDA regulates that only 10% of ingredients need to be natural in order for a company to call its product "natural." Simple's daytime moisturizer only uses all-natural products, making this face cream safer than others like it.

Photo Credit: Drugstore.com

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