While on vacation, Arran Waye thought it would be fun to get a henna tattoo of a mustache on his face, considering it a “bit of a laugh.” But, not long after receiving the usually temporary tattoo, he experienced an allergic reaction, leaving the area irritated. Just a day or so later, his “whole face was pushing out with blisters.”
Waye, a resident of Britain, was attending the Benidorm festival in Spain when he got the tattoo.
After it was applied, he began to experience some discomfort which quickly morphed extreme pain. He also suffered from significant swelling, redness, and even blisters. Waye began to question if it was safe for him to board his flight back to his home in the UK.
“We weren’t sure if I could fly [sic],” said Waye. “I eventually took the risk, and I did, and [my] airways were closing up. I had a bad allergic reaction.”
Waye added, “Then, as I landed, I struggled to get through passport control because my face didn’t look like it did on the passport photo.”
After returning home, the swelling did eventually subside. However, the henna tattoo design is still clearly visible on his face, including the line that rises up from his lip to his cheek before ending in a curl. Some of the skin was still covered in scabs, a clear sign of the severity of his reaction to the henna ink.
“In all honesty, it was stupidity,” said Waye.
As reported by the New Zealand Herald, if the design scars, Waye could be left with a permanent reminder of the novelty mustache design he selected.
Henna is a plant-based product that is used in a variety of products, including some cosmetics, hair care products, and hair dyes. It can also be applied directly to the skin to create a temporary tattoo, as henna is capable of staining the skin.
According to WebMD, henna is “safe for most adults when used on the skin,” but some do experience side effects ranging from inflammation and redness to burning, swelling, blisters, and scarring. Allergic reactions are also possible, with the potential of being severe.