Krystle before and after 
PPD "Black Henna"

January 2003

Let me introduce myself. My name is Deborah Wilson and I'm the single mother of a 21 year old daughter, named Krystle. Our life was fairly normal prior to Sept. 1st. After working 23 years at Bell, I found myself jobless when they downsized and I was in the process of looking for another job. Then overnight our lives turned upside down. Money is tight, but my job hunting has come to a halt. I'm taking care of my daughter who has been sick since Sept. 9, 2002. 

Everything started happening to her 9 days after she had a "Black Henna" Temporary Tattoo put on her arm, at the Exhibition Sept. 1st. First she developed "contact dermatitis" on the site of the tattoo and 5 days later her whole body broke out in hives, which till now she still gets almost every day. She must take Reactine and Allegra daily to help relieve the itch. We discovered some very frightening information on various websites, about the dangers of "Black Henna". Unfortunately all our doctors here, are not aware of these dangers or of the possible long term side affects and medically they don't know how to prove it. 

We have seen a total of 16 doctors. Krystle has had blood work after blood work. Cat-scans, ultrasounds, and x-rays. You name it, she's had it. We've seen almost every specialist you can think of. The doctors are baffled by all her symptoms and have yet to find out what's causing them. We still believe they are linked to the tattoo she got and some chemical or toxins especially PPD that are commonly used in the tattoo pastes. The doctors are suspicious as well, but there has never been any studies done in this area, in Canada. 

On Sept. 20 Crystal's face, hands, and feet became swollen, tight and sore. On Sept. 27 the doctor noticed her blood pressure was low and it still is today. She rapidly started gaining weight around this time even though her eating habits hadn't changed. She went from 117 lbs (on Sept. 14) to 145lbs (on Nov. 20). She also experienced pain which felt like very bad bruising on her thighs, ribcage, ankles and feet. That has since disappeared. Then she started to get chest pains and heart palpitations on Oct. 17. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with Hyperthyroid. They started her on Levothyroxine pills Oct. 31. 

Oh and her bra size has gone from 36C to 38D. She had to buy new clothes and winter boots because all her small sizes no longer fit her. She has always worn size 6 1/2 in her shoes and she is now wearing 7 1/2 because of her swelling. Its hard finding shoes that are comfortable. 

Krystle developed very bad heartburn in November and after suffering with it daily, the doctor prescribed a medication Dec. 30. She is still on this medication today. Oh and in between all this Krystle came down with the Norwalk Virus on her birthday (Dec. 10). Luckily I did not get it. On Jan. 8 they discovered fluid around her heart and lungs so they decided to hook her up with a Holter which monitors the actions of your heart over a 24 hour period. At the same time they sent her for a Pulmonary Function Test to see how her lungs were doing. The results were alarming. Her heart was at such a state that if it had not been detected, she could have went into cardiac arrest. So now she is on heart pills (twice daily). Her lungs are less than normal for a girl her age, who also doesn't smoke. She will have to see a Respiratory Specialist next. In the mean time they are running various blood tests to look into "auto immune diseases" especially Lupus!! 

We are both at our wits end over all of this. Its like a very bad nightmare. Last week Krystle had to finally drop her second semester. She was working to complete the final year of her Early Childhood Education Program, put everything got to be too much for her. She was missing too much school and it was becoming very difficult to keep up with all her assignments. Hopefully she can return again in September if her health improves. On Feb. 18th we are seeing a Rheumatologist. Hopefully he will put all the pieces together. He deals with auto immune diseases. 

I have spoken with Health Canada about "Black Henna" Tattoos and they are not aware of any problems that may exist. I even spoke to two reporters at CTV News about interviewing my daughter for a special segment on "Black Henna". They said it would help if I could find  other people like my daughter, who have suffered with scarring, contact dermatitis, or any other unexplained illnesses, after  getting one of these "Black Henna" Tattoos. With other victims coming forward, we may very well have grounds for a "Civil Class Action Suit". Someone should pay for all my daughters stress, pain, and suffering. I have called the Tattoo Parlor 4 times and they've never called back. That should speak for itself. All I want to know is what's in the paste they use. 

So now that you know our situation, I'm asking you to please forward this email on to anyone you know who lives in Canada, Ontario or better still Toronto. We desperately need to get in touch with others who may have or still may be suffering in silence because of a what they thought was just an innocent "Black Henna" Temporary Tattoo. I'm sure that if we work together we can make a difference. We can make others aware of the dangers facing them and their children and hopefully close down these tattoo vendors. 

I'm looking into speaking with a lawyer in the near future. Maybe we could all benefit from this misfortune. I'm also including photos of my daughter before and now. She awakes every day with her eyes, lips, and face swollen. She turned 21 in December. Life is too precious to sit back and do nothing. I hope you can all do your best to help us find answers and possible solutions. God bless you all. 

Please forward any information you may have or share your experiences and photos with Deborah Wilson in Toronto, Ontario. Maybe we could exchange phone #'s too! 

My main email is:
My second email address is:


Krystle at Christmas in 2001 

Krystle two months before PPD Black Henna 

Krystle one month before PPD Black Henna 

Krystle's face swollen with hives after PPD Black Henna 

Krystle's hands swollen with hives after PPD Black Henna 

Krystle's feet swollen with hives after PPD Black Henna 

Krystle's legs swollen with hives after PPD "Black Henna"

As of August 2003,  Health Canada passed a law AGAINST PPD "BLACK HENNA" ... WHILE PROTECTING SAFE, TRADITIONAL HENNA!
See Health Canada's Rulings on Henna

Don't you wish your country had a law like this?

Contact your government officials now!
Urge your legislators to pass a law similar to Canada's law that protects safe traditional henna, and protects the public from "PPD Black HEnna"

Do you have questions about a black henna injury?

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All text and images on this page
copyright 2003
all rights reserved
Catherine Cartwright-Jones
The Henna Page