Temporary Tattoo – What Not To Do

September 15, 2011 in Latest, Life


It might look like a bit of harmless fun, but a temporary tattoo can lead to permanent scarring. Irina explains.

Image from Wikipedia

When we went to Anapa – a popular Russian Black Sea resort – Janna just wanted everything. Resort cities in the south of Russia are full of temptations to make sure that vacationers have no difficulty parting with their money. And kids make sure their parents don’t have to think what to spend their money on. African plaits, a temporary tattoo, numerous excursions and paid photos with beasties and birdies – that’s an incomplete list of pleasures Janna got us to pay for.

I didn’t mind much – after all, that’s what we came for. But I wish I had known beforehand the danger of certain pleasures. I refer to the temporary tattoo.

The tattoo she chose

Janna in the pool

The exotic flower she picked from the tattooist’s catalogue looked fine on her arm near her shoulder. But after two or three days spent almost entirely in the pool it got pale and we asked the tattoo girl to renew it. The first renewal was for free and was done just fine. Then, just when we were going to go back home, we asked her to renew the thing for the second time – Janna wanted to appear at home with a fresh, perfectly black tattoo. This time we paid for it.

The reaction

On the following morning, Janna complained that things with her tattoo were all wrong. Under the black paint, her skin was covered in small knobs – similar to pimples but not quite the same thing: they were drier than ordinary pimples. “Allergy”, I thought and, knowing by experience that allergies usually go without a trace once the source is removed, dismissed it from my thoughts as an insignificant incident. Our minds were on our trip back home – where to buy food, how to get to the station and all the rest of it.

When we arrived, the black paint of Janna’s tattoo was all patchy and her skin looked terrible. She scratched it too, but I still hoped it would all disappear soon. Well, it didn’t.

The treatment

When we finally went to the doctor, she prescribed three different creams to apply externally, pills for allergy and powders for absorption of whatever toxins there might have been left in Janna’s body from the original inflammation. Dermatitis was the diagnosis, but we were assured that it would go without a trace.

Permanent scarring

Ten days of treatment dried the knobs out and eventually removed them altogether. But there was no “without a trace” for us. Janna’s arm is now decorated by a flower-shaped scar, and despite being flower-shaped it doesn’t look pretty at all! I think we will have now to take some extra measures to get rid of it, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to do it. It’ll cost us a fortune for sure.

A common problem

From the doctor I also learned that such dermatitis resulting from a temporary tattoo made in the unhygienic environment of a beach is a common phenomenon. Apparently, she has to treat a lot of such children every year after the vacation season is over. But nobody – yes, nobody! – takes any measures against this unsafe business, allowing it to flourish.

From an English friend I also learned that it was not a Russia-specific phenomenon. English people are in danger when they go to Spain where such services are offered (or, at least, were offered in recent years) by people who aren’t Spanish themselves but come from God knows where (so you might find it hard to find and sue them later if thing go pear-shaped – sorry, flower-shaped). It’s quite probable that you might come across such persuasive tattoo-girls and tattoo-boys in many other parts of the world.

How I wish I had known! But it was impossible to guess the consequences of this apparently innocent entertainment: there were lots of people with similar tattoos and without any visible skin problems. Janna herself reacted only after the tattoo was applied for the third time. Perhaps, the paint was a little different the third time – we’ll never know.

The lesson

So what not to do? Easy. Don’t get temporary tattoos when you are on vacation where it is offered by unprofessional people with unwashed hands, looking for quick gain during the season. Better still, don’t do them at all, but if the temptation is too strong, the best place is a beauty salon in your own place where you can always find the person who did it should anything go wrong.

If your kids cry and beg, be stern. I know that kids can manipulate terribly, but it’s our duty as parents to withstand the pressure in this case – for their own good. Nobody wants a scar to disfigure that velvety skin.