Mixed Bullous-Eczematous Contact Dermatitis From a Black Henna Tattoo in an African American Female With Sickle Cell Disease With Post-Dermatitis Pain.


East Florida


Kendall Regional Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



sickle cell disease, henna tattoo, hypersensitivity reaction, inflammation, burn, black henna tattoo


Dermatology | Hemic and Lymphatic Diseases | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases


Traditionally practiced in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, Henna tattooing has gained western popularity in creating temporary decorative patterns on the skin. Derived from the Lawsonia inermis shrub prevalent in Asia/Southeast Asia, the leaves of this plant are ground to create a paste with a brown pigment commonly called Mehndi or Henna which have deep-rooted cultural values/practices. The pure organic form of these compounds has few reported side effects. However, with gaining western popularity, synthetic additives to the natural paste to create color variation, shorten application times, and increase shelf-life have led to an increase in the incidence of adverse reactions. Namely attributed to synthetic compounds like para-phenylenediamine (PPD) or para-toluylenediamine, this synthetic type of mixture is called black henna. Although multiple types of adverse reactions with black henna have been documented as an eczematous type of reaction, few if any cases of adverse reactions of black henna affecting patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) have been documented. In this case, we aim to present an atypical mixed bullous-eczematous contact dermatitis reaction secondary to a PPD containing black henna dye applied to the skin of a patient with homozygous SCD. We intend to raise awareness of the deleterious cosmetic sequelae and chronic post-dermatitis pain manifestations which may arise in patients with SCD, as the popularity of black henna tattooing grows in the United States where SCD is one of the most prevalent hemoglobinopathies amongst black Americans.

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