If you’re thinking of getting a henna tattoo, you might want to think again.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, while temporary body art may involve less commitment than permanent ink, it’s certainly not harmless and could result in a trip to the emergency room. MedWatch, the FDA’s safety, and health complaints hotline has had scores of consumers report bad side effects to the fleeting markings, including redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of pigmentation and even permanent scarring.
Marketed as ‘Henna,’ the ink is often just cheap black hair dye rather than the natural reddish-brown coloring that has been used for cultural festivals in areas of Africa and Asia for centuries. The coal-tar hair dye contains p-phenylenediamine (PPD), an ingredient that can cause dangerous skin reactions in some people and is banned from use in cosmetics that are intended to be applied to the skin.
Some states have laws and regulations for temporary tattooing, while others don’t, 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.