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.
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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.”
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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.