Temporary Tattoos With Black Henna May Cause Skin Reactions

12:10 PM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON D.C. (WUSA9) -- When vacationing in paradise, think twice before you get an inexpensive "temporary" tattoo as part of your travel experience.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration <http://www.fda.gov/>  has received reports that these "temporary tattoos" may not be temporary at all.

Henna has been a trendy option for those who want a tattoo for a short period of time, as they last a few weeks. This reddish-brown coloring, used all over the world, is from the powdered leaves of a tropical shrub grown in tropical regions of Africa and Asia.

What many don't realize, is new "black henna," used in lieu of traditional henna, is a blend of the brown henna with other ingredients.

And the main ingredient is often a coal-tar hair dye containing phenylenediamine (PPD), an ingredient that has been banned from being put in cosmetics as it can cause extreme skin reactions.

While this type of "black henna" can make temporary tattoos last longer, the potential side effects are not worth the risk.

MedWatch, FDA's safety reporting program has received reports from consumers that their temporary tattoos are leaving permanent scars. Individual reports have also described redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, increased sensitivity to sunlight and loss of pigmentation.

While some people have seen reactions immediately after getting this temporary tattoo, others have had a reaction up to two or three weeks later.

Two weeks after getting a black henna temporary tattoo, a father's five year old developed severe reddening on her forearm. He tells the FDA, "What we thought would be a little harmless fun ended up becoming more like a nightmare for us."

The FDA reiterates that while state officials may sometimes have oversight over tattoo parlors and cosmetology sites, it varies state to state. Depending on where you live, officials may not be consistently checking artists to make sure their practices are safe.



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