Mom's Tattoo Tribute to Her Daughter Lands Her in the Hospital

Horrifying 61

tattoo gunLike lots of moms, Nicola Hickman wanted to show her love for her daughter by getting inked. In fact, she and her partner of 17 years Leslie Mkwah decided to both get tattoos in honor of their 7-year-old, Chenai. Leslie opted for his daughter's name on his back, while Nicola chose a small, heart-shaped design on her right ankle. It was her first tattoo ... and you'd think her last, after the nightmare she went through as a result!

Not long after having the tattoo done, Nicola began to suffer a severe, painful allergic reaction.

She explained to The Daily Mail:

Getting the tattoo done wasn’t particularly painful. I managed to keep chatting while the tattoo artist worked. At first, it was fine. But then, six weeks later, I noticed that the tattoo was bumpy and the red colour was fading. I went back to the tattooist to ask his opinion, and he said he would be happy to top up the colour when the bumps went down. He advised using antiseptic cream. But the weeks went on and it got worse. I tried to ignore it, but it got to the point where I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t wear proper footwear and I couldn’t sleep on it.

Ughh. This poor woman! Why she didn't go to the doctor sooner, I'm not sure ... but it took her 11 months after initially having the tattoo done to be referred to a hospital in central London, where specialists were able to remove the flaky growth, which was protruding from her ankle.

Apparently, her doctors had never seen an allergic reaction like hers before, and ended up removing the growth, but then Nicola was left with an open wound, which lead to infection. So crazy! In the end, the only thing they could think to blame was a metallic chemical from the red ink in her tattoo. (She since got another tattoo in black ink, which she says caused no problems.)

I feel like pointing to this as a likely possibility of what could happen when you get a tattoo is a bit of a stretch, but it does seem like something to bear in mind. Especially when the FDA notes allergies, infection, scarring, and granulomas (small knots or bumps that form around material the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment) can happen as the result of getting tattooed.

What a shame Nicola had to go through this when all she was trying to do was pay tribute to her little girl. But perhaps her experience will serve as a cautionary tale ... It's better to know something like this could happen, but more importantly, Nicola's fiasco is a reminder of just how important it is to see your doctor if it does!

Have you ever heard of someone having an allergic reaction to a tattoo?

Image via Ladydragonflyherworld/Flickr

allergies, general health, tattoos


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BeccaLS BeccaLS

This isn't unheard of. My friend's mom got a tattoo of purple and blue flowers on her ankle once, her sister got the same one. Hers got crusty and bumpy and gross, but her sister's was fine so it wasn't the ink. The black outline healed very well too. A lot of people have reactions to colored inks. I'm assuming it's because some people are allergic to whatever they use as a pigment.

nonmember avatar grace

I have worked in the piercing and tattoo industry for over 9 years and it is more common than you would think for people to have an allergic reaction to red and purple tattoo inks,

the4m... the4mutts

I would just like to point out that you said you imagine it would be her last tattoo, then said she got another one, in black.

Scarlett Rose Valdez

I'm with mutts. I thought the same thing when I red it. (See what I did there?)

momto... momto2ladies

My father is highly allergic to red inks and had them scraped out of his arm 40 years ago in the navy since that's how they did it back then. When I went to have my first tattoo done with him present we made sure my artisit understood his allergic reaction and he advised no reds. We discussed purples as an option as well as orange pigmented inks.  Thank god he was knowledgeable!

OneTo... OneToughMami

This is not one of those hidden from public knowledge things. I am assuming she did not go to a very good artist right now. A good artist tells you before they even begin that there is a risk. 

OneTo... OneToughMami

Also, I cannot feel bad for someone who waited 11 months to see a doctor.

nonmember avatar Jen

Its actually very common to be allergic to red tattoo ink. Before i even got my tat of a rose that was all red the tattooist told me that depending on how my body reacts to the ink i can be allergic to it. FOr a while there it was itchy bumpy and red but that soon went away and i had no problems

Rende... Rendezvous2.2

there are definitely a lot of ppl who have allergic reactions to red inks. there are hypoallerginic inks that artists can use.

Stacey McNeese

My husband got a tattoo on his calf with red shading around it and it got badly infected as well! We were into the Dr within a week though and treated.

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