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Black Henna Can Lead to Permanent Skin Damage

Update Date: Mar 26, 2013 09:37 AM EDT

Temporary tattoos that last for over a month might seem like the perfect solution for people who are not willing to withstand the pains of an ink needle or bear to see the tattoo forever. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that for those who plan on getting black henna temporary tattoos, they have to be aware of the possible dangers of the chemicals used for this type of tattoo. According to the FDA, the black henna temporary tattoo might be more permanent than one would want, and definitely not as gentle on the skin as one would hope. 

The FDA issued a warning to consumers stating that the henna tattoo ink contains a chemical akin to one found in hair dye. When applied directly to the skin, it can cause a painful and long-lasting skin reaction, People who have had the negative reaction to the ink ended up with permanent replicas of their henna tattoo seared into their skin. A sight that is not pretty to see.

The FDA first heard of the dangerous side effects when people started to complain of painful skin complications. The FDA wrote on its website that several consumers have cited "redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even permanent scaring." Along with these accounts, the FDA also uploaded a picture of a five-year-old whose skin has turned red in the area where she got her henna tattoo. Due to the severity of the skin reactions, several people have sought hospitalization. The reactions can occur as fast as right after the application of the henna or even after two to three weeks of having it.

Traditional henna uses a reddish-brown hue that is made from an African and Asian plant. This type of henna, which is more common and less permanent has been used for years and have not caused such severe skin reactions. The black henna, however, apparently contains the deadly chemical of p-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is known to cause skin reactions in people. Certain hair dyes that contain this chemical have also given people horrible reactions.

Although the blisters and rashes can be treated, it will unfortunately scar if people do not react fast enough and get the right kinds of medications. For now, people who want temporary tattoos might have to opt for brown henna or the traditional sticker. The black henna temporary tattoo might just be more painful than the real thing. 

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