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Never get a henna tattoo in bali

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4 posts
Never get a henna tattoo in bali

We had our christmas holiday for 8 days in bali.As you walk through kuta beach,there were lots of vendors and tattooist along the beach.Never attempt to have a temporary tattoo because you will suffer the consequences.Do not be lured by the tattooist.I myself was encouraged to have a henna tattoo which gives me a scar in my shoulder.For first to second week,blisters appear,it's very itchy,the itchiness is unbearable and it gives the imprint like the object itself.Right now,I'm seeking advice to my doctor because the scar is still very fresh.I have it since december but the nightmare can still be seen in my shoulder which is an awful scar.


A friendly advice from someone who cares.

Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome
Level Contributor
19,232 posts
65 reviews
1. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

Welcome back clavs. We have missed being able to make comment but now all can.

As per my original post, I'm so sorry to hear of your awful experience, but thankyou for bringing it to everone's attention again. I hope the message eventually gets through to all travelling to Bali. The henna they claim to use is not the real thing and terrible outcomes can occur as with you.

All the best.

Level Contributor
60 posts
2. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali


Sorry to ask a dumb question but whats a henna tattoo, i was looking at getting some work done whilst there in Feb.

Level Contributor
4,166 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali


I think that the temporary "henna" tats are not henna.

Henna: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henna

Henna is NOT black, it has a orangey- rust type colour. I have had it done many times on my hands - the Indians (not only them though) do it. In Bali, I have noticed that some of them say henna, but it's black, so that it looks like a tattoo. As far as I know, that is not henna, unless it is henna mixed with something - ink?

I had a temporary "henna tattoo" done in Bali in 1999. Never again, It itched, there were blisters, etc. It was an allergic reaction to the "dye". Thankfully, it was a small one and whilst I didn't see a doctor then, I remember scratching and remembering the blisters bursting, so I would then put some antiseptic cream over it and I endured the itch and it finally went away. I had a mark there for some time, but it didn't scar. Phew!

Edited: 1:58 am, January 19, 2010
Destination Expert
for Denpasar, Bali
Level Contributor
3,264 posts
57 reviews
4. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali


have a look at www.hennapage.com. for all the horrific details of socalled henna tattoos done with black ink!

Thank you for the warning clavs!


Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome
Level Contributor
19,232 posts
65 reviews
5. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

Yes it's definitely not Henna. Henna is a plant extract whereas what is being used in Bali is some terrible concoction - I just did a bit of a search on it and Henna only comes in a red brown colour. The so-called black henna is not Henna, but made from p-phenylenediamine - which apparently is an organic compound which is a derivitive of aniline and aromatic amine - mainly used in polymers...suffice to say that all sounds pretty horrible and the site warned that it can cause severe skin reations - I'm not surprised, it's a wonder you don't turn into one of the Adams Family after that.

Leeds, UK
Destination Expert
for Bali
Level Contributor
16,495 posts
50 reviews
6. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

The so called Black Henna actually just uses the same chemicals you find in black hair dye. The same stuff that recommends a patch test 24 hours before you use it in case of a skin reaction. Proper henna is green in it's paste format and should have a "grassy" smell to it, and as Jade mentions it dries more orange/brown than black.

Don't know about in Aus, but here in the UK it's fairly commonly known that henna tattoos on holiday are risky, it's a common story in the media, but still, people ignore the advice and fall foul. It's not just a problem for Bali or Kuta, it's happened to many tourists visiting the Med. It's a topic that's been covered plenty of times before on this forum, and there's a TA traveller's article on it on the Bali Inside pages here.

It's always worthwhile to have a warning here on the forum, but unless people read it, or look on the internet specifically for advice on Henna tattoos before having one done, they run the risk on a reaction. Most of the time you get the impression it's a spur of the moment decision and the research isn't done.

West Aust
Level Contributor
1,116 posts
128 reviews
7. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

Thanks for the warning clavs, I'll be sure to stay away from those. I hope it heals for you soon.

Level Contributor
1,117 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

this is great to know! i had no idea of this and have just been on my first trip to bali and saw many people with henna tattoos.



Destination Expert
for Kuta, Lovina Beach, Singaraja, Baturiti, Bali
Level Contributor
6,821 posts
67 reviews
9. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

I warn everyone not to chance them. Someone I know did and she was very sorry afterwards.

Even real tattoos there can be risky and some fade quickly as the dye is not good quality.

As tempting as it may be for some....not worth it.

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
54 posts
10. Re: Never get a henna tattoo in bali

You can also develop a life-long allergy to the chemicals used and other related chemicals which make up hair and fabric dyes.

Edited: 12:03 am, January 20, 2010
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