Boy, 11, left with horrific chemical burns after henna tattoo caused infection

Mirror Online 2 months ago

An 11-year-old boy was left with horrific chemical burns after getting a black henna tattoo on holiday.

Charlie Gaughan got the temporary inking the night before flying home from a family holiday in Cabo Roig, Spain, this summer.

A week after getting the 'evolution of man' outline on his forearm, the pigment started flaking off and the schoolboy was left with a painful-looking burn that became infected.

Doctors said the burn was caused by Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) - a chemical commonly found in black henna and dark hair dyes.

Mum Lisa Gaffney, 34, from Audenshaw, Greater Manchester, said: "When I saw I saw the red mark left behind on his arm I panicked.

"He said it was itchy like mad but also burning him at the same time and couldn't settle.

"I felt it was my fault and felt really bad for him because you don't want them [your child] to be in pain, you just wish you could take that pain from them."

The family, including Lisa's mum Carol Gaffney and her partner Mark Byrne, visited a stall in the Costa Blanca resort on August 23rd and paid 15 for the design.

The 'evolution of man' tattoo Charlie had done the night before flying home from Spain
The tattoo flaked off and left Charlie with painful scars

The artist spent 10 minutes drawing and filling in the elaborate design, leaving Charlie thrilled with the results.

Admin assistant Lisa said:"As we walked past each day he'd seen them and when we were out for a walk on our last night he asked if he could have one.

"He didn't want to get it done sooner because if you go in chlorine too much sometimes it takes it off.

"I said 'no' at first and then a friend he met there was having it done so I gave in and he had it done with them.

"It was a really popular stall, was really busy you don't think anything's going to be wrong with it do you?

"It's advertised as henna and you see all the other kids having it done, I wouldn't have let him have it done if I'd have known it could have done that to him.

"He was really pleased with it and it was absolutely fine until a week later when it blistered."

When Lisa discovered the chemical burn on Charlie's arm on August 30th, the day after the henna flaked off in the shower, she rang 111 and was advised to go to A&E.

As the youngster had spent a week with his grandma in York, Lisa took him to York Hospital's A&E department where his blistered arm was examined and bandaged.

Two days later back at home in Manchester, Lisa was given an appointment with a hospital burns doctor who examined and re-dressed it. [September 2].

Lisa said: "He'd gone to stay at his nana's in York for the week after we got back from holiday.

The outlines of the henna tattoo on Charlie's forearm
Charlie had to be taken to A&E where his arm was heavily bandaged

"When I went to pick him up all the black had come off in the shower the night before and left the red mark behind.

"I took him to A&E that night after ringing 111 because I Googled it and read all these horror stories.

"There a doctor bandaged it and said it would need re-dressing and two days later in Manchester we saw a burns doctor who was really good.

"He said he didn't think it would scar and put a special burn cream on it and dressed it again."

During a routine check-up a week later staff discovered a red rash had erupted on Charlie's arm showing that it had become infected [September 9].

Charlie was prescribed a five-day course of antibiotics and has an appointment in six week's time to see a scar specialist.

Lisa said that doctors reassured her that given his age, they're hopeful that Charlie's arm will fully heal and he won't be left with any scarring.

Lisa said: "He was taking his antibiotics four times a day for five days and when we last went back they were happy with how it was healing.

Bandages on Charlie's arm after gong to hospital
The skin underneath the henna became red and inflamed

"I just have to wash it three times a day with unperfumed soap and then put some cream on it, we have an appointment with the scar doctor in six weeks.

"The burns doctor said he didn't think it would scar and the nurse said as he has youth on his side they do generally heal quite well.

"They said it could take months for it to go fully but there's always the possibility of it leaving that imprint.

"It's looking really good at the minute so I'm hopeful it wont scar."

Lisa is now urging parents not to allow their children to have black henna tattoos done so that others don't go through what Charlie has.

Lisa said: "It didn't ruin Charlie's holiday because this happened at the end of it but I felt it was my fault.

"Before this happened I'd never heard of it, I don't want anyone else to go through what he has.

"To any parents thinking about letting their children get these black henna tattoos I would advise, just say no.

"Get it up on the internet and show any kids who are asking to have it done plenty of images on Google that would definitely put kids off wanting it.

"My advice would be to stick to your word and say 'no', whether they have a strop or not, it's just not worth it."

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