'I nearly lost my hand': Australian traveller's gruesome reaction to henna tattoo

Brooke Crannaford paid for a henna tattoo on her visit to Egypt, but quickly realised something wasn't right. Source: Supplied

Words by Kamillia Palu

A woman almost lost her hand while on holiday after suffering a reaction to a henna tattoo.

Brooke Crannaford, from Australia, said she was “extremely lucky” not to lose any of her fingers.

Ms Crannaford, who was 25 at the time of the incident in November last year, was visiting a village in the city of Aswan, on the Nile River, when she decided to get the body art from a local woman.

She decided to get the $5 design on her left wrist and hand – but just hours after the application she felt something wasn’t right.

“At first, a few hours after it was applied I started to feel really itchy, and then progressively over 24 hours it got worse and worse,” she said.

By the time Ms Crannaford was able to get access to a doctor, she was starting to lose feeling in her fingers from cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection.

“They diagnosed me with stage 3 cellulitis and a severe chemical/second or third degree burn,” she said.

Ms Crannaford suffered burns on her hand and wrist, and developed pus-filled blisters and a raised infection. Source: Supplied

“I was extremely lucky not to lose any digits.”

Ms Crannaford said it took three weeks for the wound to heal enough to leave it uncovered and another week on top of that before she could return to work.

The type of henna that causes the burns is usually black henna, which contains an ingredient called paraphenylenediamine (PPD).

PPD is commonly used in hair dye and is an extremely toxic chemical for the skin, causing chemical burns, blisters and scarring, according to House Call Doctor.

Brooke Crannaford was travelling through Egypt when she decided to get a henna tattoo. Source: Supplied

Those wanting a proper henna tattoo should be sure that it’s natural henna, which is made entirely out of plant-based ingredients.

Real henna will be an orange colour with a red or brown tint. Any temporary tattoos with dark tints should be treated with caution.

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