Baltimore MD Consumer Safety: Black Henna Leaves Child With Severe Reaction

08/25/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Baltimore, MD—What started out as a pleasant stroll along a Baltimore boardwalk ended with a mother and her two young daughters getting black henna tattoos. Black henna remains unapproved by the FDA for topical use and consequently left the youngest child with a severe skin reaction, according to a Wednesday, August 25, 2010 WBALTV report.

“My girls had been begging to do it [henna tattoos], and I kept saying no and no, and then finally, I said, ‘Oh, why not? It will be fun,” said Rebecca Barry, mother of 5-year-old Emileigh and 7-year-old Madison.

Shops advertising henna tattoos could be seen in all areas of the boardwalk, located near a Baltimore beach. The mother and her two young daughters chose a shop and each got henna tattoos.

However, it wasn’t until 10 days later that Emileigh seemingly developed a reaction to the temporary tattoo. According to Barry, “After the redness, there were bumps that started. The bumps progressed to blisters. The blisters kind of opened and she had oozing. It was extremely itchy, slightly painful. It was a disaster.”

Emileigh had several doctors visits after the skin reaction developed. “I was worried sick… There have been multiple prescriptions and creams and dermatologist visits now,” Barry alleged.

It was Emileigh’s pediatrician that identified the black henna and her subsequent reaction. Barry noted, “This was coal black, solid black, and we had no clue what that was. (It’s) not real all-natural safe henna that should have been applied.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintained that black henna often contains purified protein derivative (PPD). PPD is a chemical colorant, which is only approved for use in hair dye.

According to Stephen King, a Baltimore-based FDA representative, “It can cause some damage to the skin, either blistering and/or some type of scarring… With anything—any kind of coloring or anything that you add to your skin or put on your skin—it’s important to make a wise consumer decision. Do some research prior to doing anything.”

The FDA is expected to collect a sample of the black henna used and investigate the shop where the Barrys’ got their henna tattoos.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for Maryland Product Liability Attorneys.

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