Teen fears permanent scarring after Henna tattoo

by: Diana Davis Updated:

A 14-year-old Henry County girl fears she may have permanent scars on her arm after allowing someone to use hair dye on her skin to make a temporary tattoo.

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - A 14-year-old McDonough girl fears she may have permanent scars on her arm after getting a temporary tattoo.

Emi Salquero thought getting a temporary tattoo on her left forearm seemed like a good idea when she was in a Gatlinburg, Tenn. T-shirt store with her father last month.

The tattoo, intended to be a Black Henna, was painted on the surface of her skin with no needles.

Now, six weeks later, her skin remains red, blistered and irritated. Her doctor said there may be permanent scars.

"I'm mad that I didn't know about it and I'm mad it's going to scar me," Emi told Channel 2's Diana Davis.

Her mother said at first the doctors didn't believe the marks and blisters could be from the tattoo.

"They thought she had been burned on purpose like to scar her skin," Lydie Salquero said.

The tattoo turned out to be from Black Henna.

Unlike traditional brown and green Hennas that have been used since ancient times, Black Henna is made from coal tar and used to dye hair.

Dr. Rutlelge Forney, an Atlanta dermatologist, told Davis she's seen other similar severe allergic reactions.

"It's applied to the hair without any problem for most people, but if you put it on the skin and leave it on the skin in clearly, more people are having reactions to it," Forney said.

Its ingredient, PPD, Phenylenediaime, in Black Henna, that can cause severe allergic reactions.

Black Henna tattoos are so popular near Florida beaches that the state has issued safety warnings. Most states, including Georgia, have not.

The Food and Drug Administration said PPD is approved only for use in hair dye, not for direct application to the skin.

The Salqueros are now urging teens to make thoughtful choices that could impact in their lives.