Rhianna King, The West AustralianMay 13, 2013, 5:12 am
The father of a young Perth boy who had a severe reaction to a temporary tattoo he got in Bali has warned holidaymakers after discovering the ink contained a toxic chemical.
Nik, who did not want his surname published, said his 11-year-old son Ryan developed welts all over his body after getting a temporary tattoo during a family holiday in Kuta last month.
His condition worsened once the family of four returned to Perth.
Dermatologists said the reaction was caused by para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a chemical found in boot polish, which was often disguised as henna by temporary tattoo artists in Bali.
Ryan was treated with antibiotics, cortisone and steroid tablets but doctors warned the scars could last for up to 12 months. His younger brother got a similar tattoo but did not get an allergic reaction.
"We often get them done for the kids as a bit of fun, they haven't caused a reaction before," Nik said. "It was really nasty, it looked like a chemical burn and the rash spread over his legs and arms. We won't be getting those tattoos again, that's for sure."
Fremantle Hospital dermatologist Hannes Gebauer, who treated Ryan, said he saw at least one PPD reaction a month and reminded people travelling to Bali to be aware of the dangers of temporary tattoos.
"It's a dangerous thing to have these tattoos, it's not a pleasant situation," Dr Gebauer said.
"It is quite a common occurrence. Patients usually notice redness and itchiness at the site where the tattoo has been applied and then get a delayed response, nine to 10 days afterwards."
The Australian College of Dermatologists said between 10 and 20 per cent of people who had a temporary tattoo would become allergic to the PPD.