Mom claims henna tattoos left kids with permanent scars

A mom has issued a warning after her young son and daughter were left permanently scarred by holiday henna tattoos.

Jade Morris, 26, said the incident ruined the much-anticipated trip to Tunisia with son River-Jae, 8, and daughter Farah, 5.

The youngsters were tattooed 72 hours into the 10-day trip, leaving them in severe pain for the remainder as the black henna ink burned their skin.

River-Jae had his right bicep covered in traditional henna patterns – while Jade had her right foot tattooed.

But Morris didn’t realize the ink was black henna, a dangerous type which includes chemical paraphenylenediamine used to dye hair.


It can be spotted because of its coloring, unlike the orange-brown of real henna which is safe, and can cause a severe allergic reaction.

Black henna causes chemical burns, blisters and scarring when applied to the skin as a temporary tattoo.

Jade, a mental health support worker, let her son have a real henna tattoo back in the U.K. months earlier which produced no adverse reaction.

She was unaware of black henna – and blames herself for scarring the children “for life”.

“I was devastated because I let them have it done and now they are scarred for life – I feel so guilty,” Morris said. “My oldest son says ‘It’s OK mummy you didn’t know’ but i feel awful. It’s on his right bicep coming down towards the forearm so is barely covered by a t-shirt.”

“Farah’s is on right foot leading up the ankle,” she said. “It ruined the holiday because they couldn’t swim as it was burning and River said they sun was making it feel sore. I was so anxious for the rest of the holiday and just wanted to get home to get it sorted.”

“We’d been really excited about going out there beforehand but this a was a truly unforeseen circumstance – a freak thing,” Morris said. “I want parents to be aware and for there to be greater warnings to tourists who don’t know about black henna.”


The family, who arrived in Tunisia on July 3, stayed at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, on the country’s east coast.

They went on a camel ride – a popular tourist attraction – and stopped for refreshments where the children were excited by the sight of a woman tattooing a young British girl.

Morris said there were no prior warnings about the henna tattoos and let River-Jae and Farah queue up to be inked.

“On the route there’s an area where you stop for a break and a lady doing henna tattoos waits for business,” Morris, from Oldbury, West Midlands, said. “When we arrived she was tattooing a girl and my daughter said she wanted one too.”

“Then back at the hotel River said it was burning and 20 minutes later I noticed it was weeping,” she said. “If I’d known anything about black henna I wouldn’t have let them have it – they’ve had one before in the U.K. and it was fine so I thought nothing of it.”

“I tried to take it off with a cold flannel but it wouldn’t work – medics at the resort couldn’t help either and advised that I put moisturizer on it,” Morris said. “It started to scab and as it was falling off you could see it had scarred.”

Morris plans to visit a skin specialist in the coming weeks if the marks have shown no sign of fading.

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