By: Sandy Hossam

Henna painting is a very well-known Egyptian tradition. Historically a nail and hair beauty enhancer that has become an essential component in Egyptian bachelorette parties over time, it is also used to paint on tourists’ hands as part of immersing them into the cultural norms; and this is where it got totally wrong.

An Australian tourist, however, experienced the ugly side of Henna. She almost lost her hand due to infections caused by the Henna.

How did it happen?

Brooke Crannaford, 26, was casually strolling in a village in Aswan when she decided to paint henna on her hands by a local woman for 5 dollars. Little did Crannaford know that this could have led to getting her hand amputated.

Hours after having her hand painted, she started to feel itchy. As time passed, she began to feel worse. Seeing a doctor after the pain became unbearable, she was diagnosed with stage 3 cellulitis and a severe chemical/second or third-degree burn.

This was due to an extreme allergic reaction caused by one of the ingredients in the dye, as reported by doctors.

Crannaford mentioned that she was extremely lucky for not having to lose any of her fingers. She also added that she had to wait three weeks so she could get her hand uncovered.

Actions being taken in Australia:

As a result of this unfortunate incident, doctors in Australia issued a warning for families traveling overseas to be aware of the dangers of henna.

Doctors continued on to say that families tend to think that temporary tattoos are fun. However, they can actually lead to permanent scarring. Some of them contain an ingredient called PPD that causes severe burns.

How Egypt should react?

The misconception about henna in Egypt should be reconsidered and applying it should be closely monitored by the Ministry of Health, especially that this “fun” activity can be extremely hazardous and problematic.

What do you think? Should Egyptians get rid of this age-old tradition or just try to take more precautions?