Bali is one of the most family-friendly tourist destinations in the world. Perfect for children of all ages, the Island of the Gods is one of the most exciting and engaging vacations for any young family.
There are, however, some precautions that must be taken, especially for children.
As has sadly become an annual warning for families on vacation in Bali, a mother has reached out to the public to warn them against letting their children get this one vacation treat.
Bali’s beaches are safe and welcoming places to relax in the sun. Many of the island’s most popular beaches, like Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, and Canggu, are frequented by local people who are selling their wares, whether that be trinkets, bracelets, massages, or henna tattoos.
Tourists in Bali are urged not to get a henna tattoo from a beach vendor or even from an individual operating out of a more formal stall.
The reason for this is that many of the individuals offering henna tattoos do not use traditional henna ink, which is made of natural dye, but rather a black henna that is riddled with incredibly toxic chemicals.
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One of the toxic chemicals in black henna is called paraphenylenediamine (PPD). It is the colorant found in hair dye that causes many people severe allergic reactions.
This is why hair salons will invite clients to have a patch test before they proceed with a hair-dying session.
The PPD causes chemical burns to the skin. This often results in red hot rashes, blistering, and severe scarring that has been known to last for years.
Children have especially sensitive skin and often end up with even more severe reactions resulting in permeant scars or hypopigmentation of the skin.
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The warning has hit headlines again after a mother of four, Kaitlyn Salter, shared her family’s horrifying ordeal. Salter, from Melbourne, was on holiday in Bali, enjoying a day in the sunshine at Kuta Beach.
According to Salter, two henna tattoo vendors approached the family on the beach. Before asking permission or even offering a price, the pair started tattooing Salter’s nine-year-old daughter.
While the family wasn’t overtly forced into getting the black henna tattoo, describing themselves as pretty laid back, there was clearly an unspoken pressure to go along with what was being offered, especially since the tattoo artists first approached Salter’s daughter.
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Salter has shared her ordeal with reporters in hopes that other families with young children won’t fall victim to the same situation.
She explained, “We had never been to Kuta Beach before, so we didn’t realize how hectic it could be there with everybody at you.”
The pressure applied to tourists by beach vendors is something that local aureoles are working to eliminate, but the hustle is still happening.
Salter continued, “A henna artist approached my nine-year-old and was showing her his book of designs, and she picked out a design of a turtle.”
The nine-year-old’s mother added, “She’s pretty easygoing, so (she) was just like, ‘OK, I’ll just get the wolf’. Before we knew … he’d started to do the wolf design on her arm.”
Salter’s description of her daughter’s allergic reaction is visceral. She described how her daughter’s arm began to ache and feel heavy.
And more symptoms appeared over the coming days. By the time the holiday was over and the family was home in Melbourne, Salter’s daughter was in immense pain and discomfort.
As a nurse by profession, Salter took more than adequate steps to treat the wound, including antibiotics, betadine washes, and applying antiseptic cream.
When home in Australia took her daughter to the hospital for more serious treatment.
Her daughter was given two different super-strength antihistamines and a specialist burns cream to help reduce symptoms and reduce the risk of permanent skin damage.
Salter says that her daughter has been left with what looks like keloid scarring and that she’s scared the scar of the unwanted wolf tattoo will never go away.
Salter concluded, “If I had known any of this, I never would have let her get a henna tattoo.”
Last year two mothers shared similar tragedies with the media after their children were also left scarred by black henna tattoo artists on Bali’s beaches.
If in doubt about the quality of the henna or if vendors are being too persistent, say no and report the issue to the local security officers on the beach.
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