In summer it is very frequent to offer the realization of Tattoos not permanent with henna -A pigment that is obtained by drying and crushing the leaves and flowers of a shrub, Lawxonia inermis- in places such as beaches and boardwalks, parties and fairs in the villages, street markets, or any other outdoor event. These types of tattoos are very popular precisely because they are erased after a few days, and because as it is not necessary to pierce the skin, it is a painless practice.

The seemingly innocuous nature of these tattoos attracts both adults - who do not decide to mark their skin forever - and children - who find it difficult to get permission from their parents, who see it as a kind of makeup fun and without consequences-; However, the Spanish agency of medicines and health products, already issued an information note in July 2008 warning of the risks of tattooing with black henna.

Henna is a natural product that is used to color hair or perform non-permanent tattoos on the skin, but its color is greenish brown (chestnut red on the skin), and to darken it and get a bright black tone, and accelerate to the same time its fixation on the skin, dyes are used as the p-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause skin allergic reactions serious and permanently sensitize the affected, so that if he later comes in contact with these dyes (for example through clothing) suffer reactions that could become serious.

The concentration of PPD in black henna usually reaches 15%, while the maximum allowed for cutaneous use is 2%, and 6% when it comes to hair dyes. And, in addition, can not be applied directly on the skin, eyebrows and eyelashes.

The main signs that indicate you are suffering an allergic reaction in the area where you have been tattooed with black henna, according to the agency of the drug, are: itching, redness, swelling, spots or discoloration, and even blisters or scars. If you have any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately.

In the long term, sensitization to PPD can cause a severe allergic reaction when cross-reacting with certain drugs, such as sulfonamides, antihistamines and certain anesthetics.

How to differentiate natural henna from black henna

If you want to get a tattoo with natural henna, you must first check that it is not adulterated with other dyes, and that it is not black henna. Thus, you will avoid problems in the skin, or the risk of becoming permanently sensitized, and being able to suffer a severe allergic reaction if you later come into contact with this type of dyes. For this you can look at:

The p-phenylenediamine (PPD) is a dye that is added to the natural henna to darken it, and can trigger severe allergic reactions in people who get a tattoo

  • The color of dust. The natural henna has a greenish brown color, and if it is darker, or black, dyes will have been added.
  • The color of the tattoo. The natural henna dyes the skin a chestnut-red tone, while the color will be black in the case of using black henna.
  • The time needed to fix the tattoo. With natural henna, the process is slow, and it may take up to four hours for the tattoo to dry on the skin. Therefore, if they tell us that we can remove the paste just one hour after its application, it will be because it is black henna.
  • The duration of the tattoo on the skin. With the natural henna the drawing will usually last three or four days. However, black henna tattoos are kept for more than a week.

Black Henna Tattoos Can Cause Allergic Reaction (September 2019).