‘Scarred For Life’: Seven-Year-Old Girl Left With Full Arm Chemical Burns After Getting Black Henna Tattoo On Holiday

Madison Gulliver in hospital.
Madison Gulliver in hospital.
Madison Gulliver in hospital.

A seven-year-old girl has been left with horrific chemical burns and permanent scars covering her entire arm – thanks to a holiday black HENNA tattoo.

Madison Gulliver was on a family break to a plush hotel in Hurghada, in Egypt when her dad Martin Gulliver, 50, treated her to get the design at the in-house salon.

But shortly after arriving back in the UK, Madison complained the pattern – which stretched from her right elbow to her fingers – was itchy.

The pretty swirls erupted in a series of painful blisters, which then had to be CUT OFF in a specialist burns unit – leaving Madison with disfiguring scars.

A chemical called para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, is added to henna to make the tattoos darker and increase their lifespan.

While PPD is present in many products, such as sun cream and hair dye, it is usually used in very small doses.

The addition of PPD into henna is now recognised as a public health issue, as this allergenic chemical often causes hypersensitivity reactions in children.

Madison had the temporary tattoo at the family's plush hotel salon as a treat
Madison had the temporary tattoo at the family’s plush hotel salon as a treat

Martin, a manager for Royal Mail, from the Isle of Wight, said: “She is potentially scarred for life after getting a black henna tattoo.

“The tattoo was done in the hotel’s salon and they claim it’s not the henna and that it’s my daughters skin.

“She has blisters from her finger to her elbow and is in so much pain.

“We were entirely unaware of the dangers and I think they should warn of this in the brochures.

“I think it’s partly my fault because I didn’t know about it, but also the fault of the salon because they are using dangerous chemicals on children.

“We would have thought that the travel agents would have had concerns about this.

“We want to get the message out to other people about this.”

Madison Gulliver horrific chemical burns.
Madison Gulliver horrific chemical burns.

Martin said he had a great holiday with wife Sylvia, 43, son Sebastian, nine, and daughter Madison, seven, until the beginning of the second week.

Postie Sylvia had to be rushed to hospital with a gall bladder infection, and although everything worked out fine, the family spent two days of their holiday in hospital.

As a treat for being so well behaved, Martin decided to pay for both of the kids to have a black henna tattoo.

Sebastian instantly complained of itching so the pattern was washed from his arm.

But shortly after returning home on July 25 the skin under Madison’s tattoo started to bubble.

“We noticed there was a small patch on the top of the tattoo that was raised but we couldn’t see any redness,” he said.

“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 realised all the worrying things.”

SWNS_HENNA_BURNS_15Doctors gave the family steroid cream to treat the area but when blisters started to form on Madison’s fingers, the young girl was quickly rushed to A&E.

After FIVE visits to St Mary’s Hospital where they were given different creams and ointments, she was finally referred to burns’ specialists Salisbury District Hospital.

He said: “We started to panic. They had never seen it before, and each time we went in they were trying different things but it was getting worse and worse.”

Doctors carried out a test on the liquid seeping from the blisters on Madison’s arms and were shocked to discover a high PH level – indicating a chemical burn.

“They decided to treat the skin by removing the blisters, so they could access the burned skin underneath,” Martin continued.

“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.

“She wanted to see what they were doing so we couldn’t get her to look away, she was really good and kept saying ‘you’ve missed one’.”

Madison has now been referred to a scar management unit and has to wear a pressure bandage for at least six months to minimise the scars covering her arm.

Madison Gulliver on holiday with mum Sylvia and brother Sebastian.
Madison Gulliver on holiday with mum Sylvia and brother Sebastian.

Now, Martin wants to warn others of the danger of black henna tattoos.

“We have emailed the hotel but they said there’s nothing wrong with the henna, and it must be a problem with my daughter,” he said.

“When I responded I sent back a link to the dangers of it and told them to talk to their own doctor, who was trained in the UK.

“We don’t want compensation, the main thing is to care for Madison and minimise the scarring because we don’t want her growing up with a scar for the rest of her life.”

The hotel in Hurghada apologised and said it no longer offered the tattoos.

Madison Gulliver in hospital.

In an email to the family, Heike Moursy guest relation manager of Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas, said: ”On behalf of the owner from the Beauty Center we apologize again what is happened with your daughter.

”We don’t want to have such horrible reactions to anybody in the future again.

”Therefore our General Manager Mr. Max Shoukry have spoken with the owner of the beauty center to stop the offer of any henna tattoo.

”We know, this does not help your daughter but we wish her to get well soon.”


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