CAUTION: Black Henna Temporary Tattoos can cause severe reactions &/or permanent damage -

BEWARE of Black Ink Henna!
A series of articles sharing with you the horrible effects of giving into vanity, peer pressure and/or wanting to fit in with what's trending now: Black Henna Tattoos.

Michael Love, IIO


Temporary tattoos put some at risk


by Warren Trent 
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 10:00 PM 
Updated Monday, Mar 25 at 11:14 PM 

PHOENIX -- The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning regarding temporary tattoos that become popular during summer months with kids and teenagers.

The so-called "black henna" tattoo is supposed to last three days to several weeks, but for some, these temporary tattoos can be a long-lasting if not permanent problem, sending many to seek medical attention.

As a result, the FDA issued a warning saying some black henna tattoos are causing serious skin reactions like blisters and scarring.

Henna tattoos are popular during the summer when teens are with vacationing parents. But after exposure, some are developing a lifelong allergy to the ingredient in the ink, commonly referred to as PPD.

The only legal use for PPD is in cosmetics such as hair dye. And keep in mind, PPD is not approved for direct application to the skin.

So before you get that henna tattoo, be sure to ask the artist if the henna contains PPD. If so, you might want to walk away.

If you have a temporary tattoo that doesn't feel or look right, call your doctor to have it checked out.
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Temporary black henna tattoos can cause severe skin reactions, permanent scarring: FDA 

Longer-lasting 'black henna' sometimes contains p-phenylenediamine, a coal-tar hair dye that's known to irritate skin. 

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013, 4:18 PM
Updated: Monday, March 25, 2013, 5:23 PM

Patients display skin reactions caused by temporary black henna tattoos. The FDA warned against the treatment, a popular offering at fairs, beaches and resorts, after receiving reports of severe blistering and permanent scarring.

Watch out for that temporary tattoo —- it may leave a lasting impression.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Monday about temporary henna tattoos, some of which contain a hair dye chemical that can cause severe, long-lasting skin reactions.

The agency has received repeated reports from consumers about "redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even permanent scarring," it announced on its website.

The report included startling photos of a five-year-old girl with severe skin reddening that persisted long after the swirling tattoo pattern faded.

The reactions occur immediately after receiving the treatment or as long as 2-3 weeks later, and have landed people in emergency rooms, the agency said.

Reddish-brown henna comes from a flowering plant native to Africa and Asia has been used as a body decoration for centuries, the agency notes. It is used to paint the surface of the skin, and fades within a few days or weeks.

But the longer-lasting "black henna" used by many practitioners today sometimes contains p-phenylenediamine (PPD), a coal-tar hair dye that's known to cause skin reactions in some people.

Black henna dyes might contain only PPD, or PPD plus a number of other ingredients — not necessarily including natural henna, the FDA said.


Henna is used in a number of cultural and religious ceremonies around the world, but its popularity has risen along with that of permanent tattoos, and it's now a popular offering at fairs, beaches and resorts. Not all states have regulations for safe temporary tattoing practices.

The agency spoke with one mother of a 17-year-old who was injured following a black henna tattoo.
"At first I was a little upset she got the tattoo without telling me," the mother said. "But when it became red and itchy and later began to blister and the blisters filled with fluid, I was beside myself."

Another mother said her daughter's back looked "the way a burn victim looks, all blistered and raw," and that her daughter's doctor said she would have permanent scarring.


Dr. Neil Sadick, a professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College with a private practice in Manhattan, says he has treated several patients for black henna reactions in recent years.

"People can contact dermatitis from the henna in the tattoo," he said. "They can get weeping blisters, or another allergic reaction."

"We usually treat it with topical steroids, oral steroids or antihistamines," he said. "It usually doesn't scar, but it could if it's untreated."

Sadick says he has seen reactions from hair products with PPD as well as temporary tattoos.

The FDA urged consumers to report any such incidents at 1-800-FDA-1088 or via its website.


Temporary Tattoos May Leave Permanent Damage

As spring break nears, FDA warns that seemingly harmless lark might blister, scar skin

WebMD News from HealthDay
By Robert Preidt 
HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- As thousands of college students head to sunny spots for spring break, getting temporary tattoos may seem like a fun thing to do. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that they can cause blisters and permanent scarring.

While the ink used for permanent tattoos is injected into the skin, temporary tattoos are applied to the skin's surface. Temporary tattoos often use "black henna," which may contain a coal-tar hair dye containing p-phenylenediamine (PPD), an ingredient that can cause dangerous skin reactions in some people.

By law, PPD is not permitted in cosmetics intended to be applied to the skin, the FDA noted.

The agency has received reports of serious and long-lasting reactions in people who received temporary black henna tattoos. The reported problems include redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight and permanent scarring. The reactions can occur immediately or up to two or three weeks later.

Incidents involving black henna tattoos that were reported to the FDA include:
  • A 5-year-old girl who developed severe reddening on her forearm about two weeks after receiving a tattoo.
  • A 17-year-old girl whose skin became red and itchy and later began to blister.
  • A mother who said her teenager daughter's back looked "the way a burn victim looks, all blistered and raw." A doctor said the girl will have scarring for life.
The FDA said that people who have a reaction to, or concern about, a temporary tattoo should contact a health care professional and contact MedWatch, which is the agency's safety information and problem-reporting program. This can be done online or by phoning 1-800-FDA-1088.


Caution: Black Henna Temporary Tattoos Could Leave Permanent Scars

If you want to show off some cool body art over spring break, but you're not willing to have it permanently etched onto your arm, realistic-looking temporary tattoos seem like a healthy compromise. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday warned people to watch out. Apparently, certain temporary tattoos can still cause permanent damage. 

Also on Shine: More Women Are Inking Up Than Men

"Just because a tattoo is temporary it doesn't mean that it is risk free," Dr. Linda Katz, director of FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, said in a statement.

The FDA's warning has to do with temporary tattoos made with "black henna" ink containing para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a coal-tar product that is approved for use in hair dye but is known to cause skin reactions in some people. Traditional, reddish-brown henna and stick-on temporary tattoos (the ones that look like stickers and are applied with water) are not part of the warning.

Also on Shine: Regret that Tattoo? These Celebrities Sure Do

Unlike permanent tattoos, in which ink is injected under the skin, "black henna" tattoos are drawn or stenciled onto the skin's surface. They're popular with vendors at beaches, boardwalks, resorts, and fairs because they're easy to apply quickly and make for long-lasting, dark, realistic-looking temporary body art.

These temporary tattoos, drawn on with so-called black henna, left lasting scars. (Photos: …
But PPD can also have horrible side effects. The FDA has received reports of "redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even permanent scarring" in adults and children who have had "black henna" applied to their skin.

Reactions can occur right away, a few days after exposure, or even as long as two or three weeks after the temporary tattoo was applied.

One mother, whose teenager had gotten a black henna tattoo on her back, told the FDA that her daughter's skin looked "the way a burn victim looks, all blistered and raw" and that doctors have said she will have permanent scars. Another mother reported that her 17-year-old daughter's "black henna" tattoo began to blister soon after it was applied.

"At first I was a little upset she got the tattoo without telling me," the mom, who works as a nurse, told the FDA. "But when it became red and itchy and later began to blister and the blisters filled with fluid, I was beside myself."

There are several ways to tell whether a temporary tattoo artist is using PPD instead of actual henna. According to Catherine Cartwright-Jones, who runs The Henna Page, "If the stuff they're using is jet black and stains your skin quickly, it's probably PPD-based black hair dye."

Traditional henna paste needs to stay on your skin for several hours or even overnight in order to create a long-lasting design (and, even then, the design will be orange before it darkens to red-brown and finally fades back to orange after a few days). If the artist says to leave the paste on your skin for less than an hour and promises that the stain will be black (and will stay black) once the paste is removed, then they're probably using PPD.

"You will not get a straight answer just by asking," Cartwright-Jones warns on her website. "You'll have to look at the paste itself."

Traditional henna comes from a flowering plant that is native to Asia and Africa, and has been used in skin decoration for centuries. The paste is greenish brown or khaki colored and smells like vegetable matter or pine, Tea Tree, or other essential oils. PPD, on the other hand, may have no odor or, if they're using straight hair dye, may smell like bleach or ammonia.

The FDA cautions that even traditional henna is only approved for use in the United States as a hair dye, in spite of the fact that it has been used in skin decoration (like mehndi in India), for centuries.

"By law, all color additives used in cosmetics must be approved by FDA for their intended uses, with the exception of coal tar colors intended for use in hair dyes," the agency says on its website. "Some states have laws and regulations for temporary tattooing, while others don't. So, depending on where you are, it's possible no one is checking to make sure the artist is following safe practices or even knows what may be harmful to consumers."

People who have had bad reactions to temporary tattoos should notify the FDA by calling 800-FDA-1088 or via its website.

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