If you jetted off to an exotic holiday location this summer you may have been offered a temporary black henna tattoo while lazing poolside or on the beach. If you’ve had one applied please let us know before your next colour service.
Because even if you have your hair regularly coloured for years, black henna tattoos can cause you to suddenly develop new allergies to hair colourants and dye.
Natural henna v black henna tattoos
Temporary tattoos using henna paste have been popular in many cultures for hundreds of years. Natural orange-red coloured henna extract is applied to the skin in a decorative pattern and, as the paste dries, leaves a patterned stain behind which gradually fades over 2-4 weeks before disappearing.
Pure natural henna tattoos do not cause a problem with hair colourants. But, especially outside the EU, some tattoo artists offer the much darker so-called ‘black henna tattoos’. These contain potentially high levels of PPD (paraphenylenediamine), which is also used in hair colour, to give them their dark distinctive colour.
Avoid black henna tattoos
PPD (paraphenylenediamine) is a safe and legal ingredient in hair colourants but should not be applied directly to the skin in a temporary tattoo because:
Painful skin burns and blisters
The use of PPD in tattoos (and at such high concentrations) is illegal in the EU and can be very harmful if applied directly to the skin causing painful allergic blistering and burning.
Potential new allergy to hair colourants
Secondly, even if you don’t react badly to the tattoo itself at the time and it fades, it can still sensitise you to PPD meaning you can develop a sudden new allergy to hair colourants giving burns and blistering to your scalp. This is why it’s important to let us know before your colour appointment.
What if I’ve had a black henna tattoo?
Don’t worry. The important thing is to let us know in advance. We’ll then carry out a quick free skin patch test 48 hours before your next colour service. Not sure if yours is a natural or black henna tattoo? Please still tell us and we’ll carry out the test for your peace of mind.