This family had just returned from a blissful holiday in Bali, when they noticed something very wrong.

While in the resort area of Nusa Dua, in southern Bali, Lisa Tapp treated her six-year-old son, Benjamin, to a henna tattoo. However, shortly after getting back to Australia earlier this month, Benjamin suffered a reaction that may see him scarred for life.

Now, the Australian traveller is warning others of the dangers, according to News.com.au.

“Just thought I would put out a warning,” Lisa said. “My family and I just got back from another amazing holiday in Bali. But a week after being home my six-year-old son started to break out on his arms and leg where he had henna tattoos done.”

Lisa said the problem lay in the tattoo’s black colouring, which indicates that chemicals were added to it.

“The tattoos were black and not brownish red,” she said. “I have since found out that the black henna has nasty chemicals added to it. They add PPD (paraphenylenediamine) and even kerosene.”

lisa tapp 2

It’s likely that the scars will remain, although there’s hope they will fade over time.

“The hospital and doctors back home have told me that my son will more likely have permanent scarring on his two arms and leg.

“So please everyone enjoy the beautiful Bali and beautiful Balinese people but stay clear of any henna tattoos especially if they are offering in the black colour.”

Problems with dark henna tattoos in Bali are so common that our government has issued a warning, however many tourists remain unaware.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade states in its travel advice for Indonesia: “Avoid temporary black henna tattoos which often contain a dye that can cause serious skin reactions.”

Shannon Ponton – Personal trainer and fitness guru on Biggest Loser – shared his sons frightening experience with henna tatts last year as well. Read his story here.

And yet another Mum shared a warning after her son suffered a potentially fatal allergic reaction to a henna tattoo while on holiday. Read more here.

Share your comments below

  • Not sure I would consider any kind of tattoo for a 6 year old, especially one gotten overseas


  • So scary to think this can happen from what you think is a temporary tattoo. Hopefully it fades away


  • Wow, so sorry to hear this. We’ve been to Thailand and Fiji where some of our friends had henna tattoos without incident. This is good information to share with our family and friends. I hope there is a good outcome for this family.


  • I’ve heard lots of stories like this before. Pity the parents hadn’t! Otherwise they could have avoided it. Unfortunate incident but the kid will have a cool scar and story to tell.


  • she obviously didn’t see the other warning stories from similar incidents from bali previously posted on Mouth of Mums before she went

    How scary and sad for her little boy to be possibly permanently marked now :(


  • Oh dear


  • My kids had henna tattoos done at school during Indian festivals ! I thought they were harmless and fade away in some days and never had a problem with my kids getting one !! So far we haven’t had negative experiences with them, but will be more cautious in the future.


  • I know children do pressure their parents for things, please think before giving in to them.


  • Cannot imagine why a parent would want their child to have a tattoo in the first place. Their skin is so precious, why ruin it? Bad enough that they may do this to themselves at a later stage of their life.


  • My son suffered the same problem after a tattoo on his arm. Back in Australia Advantin was prescribed by a GP. Some years on there is no scaring.
    It was a very hard lesson to learn.


  • Poor kid. Hopefully his arm recovers soon.


  • maybe travel agents could offer some sort of advisory warnings to travelers, maybe link their booking systems up with the current warnings for as many areas as they can, would be very handy for everyone


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