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Experts warn against black henna tattoo craze


Are you clued up on the potential dangers of your temporary black henna tattoo? It may seem like a fun way to get in to the festival spirit, or a great memento from a holiday, but it could be bad news for your skin.

Experts have warned against the dangers of black henna temporary tattoos (BHTTs), after dermatologists reveal an increase in bad skin reactions this summer.

A survey by the British Skin Foundation has revealed that 4 in 10 dermatologists had seen patients with reactions to the tattoos this year.

Common places people are having black henna tattoos are at festivals and on holiday, particularly children and young people who may not understand the risks.

Most black henna tattoos do not actually use henna, instead using a substance called para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which is found in hair dyes.

Black Henna Temporary Tattoo


PPD is allowed to be used in hair dye, but it’s illegal in the European Union to use it in skin contact products such as temporary tattoos.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation Spokesperson, says: “Black henna is well known to cause skin reactions and should be treated with caution, particularly in children.”

Dr Christopher Flower, Director-General of Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA). “The message is clear: having a ‘black henna’ temporary tattoo presents a significant risk of a very nasty adverse reaction to the tattoo itself.

“It also increases the risk of either not being able to use most hair dyes in the future or having a bad reaction to them if the warnings are ignored.

“This summer, parents will want to keep their children safe, by steering clear of so-called ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos.”

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