Previous Awards

View the images from our previous Award winners.

Black henna allergy

Nicola Kelley, Cardiff and Vale University Hospital NHS Trust

Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

Blisters forming on skin painted with a black henna tattoo on the arm of a young girl. Henna is commonly used to stain skin or hair orange-brown, but chemical dyes can be added to turn the colour black. These extra chemicals can cause allergic reactions and chemical burns. These blisters may lead to scarring and sometimes affect the natural colouring of the skin.

The chemical responsible for these reactions is paraphenylenediamine, which is also widely used in permanent hair dyes – but its use in these products is strictly controlled. Temporary tattoos, which are drawn or painted onto the skin and then fade over time, are becoming increasingly popular.

Imaging technique: clinical photography

Photographs of patients, taken with their consent, can be used to diagnose and record their conditions during the stages of treatment. Photographs can be taken in a photographic studio, during clinic, on the ward or in an operating theatre as required.

Location where image was created

Cardiff, UK

Why did the judges choose this image?

“This remains one of my favourite images of this year’s intake. I particularly like the intricacy of the pattern, contrasted by the lighting and the blisters.”

Dirk Pilat, Medical Director for e-Learning at the Royal College of General Practitioners and a GP on the Essex coast

Do you agree with the judges? Vote for your favourite image here.