Thursday, March 21, 2013

Q&A: Are Henna Tatoos safe?

Q. Are henna tattoos safe for my kids?

A. As long as they are true henna. Often you will see black henna tattoos especially on boardwalks in the summertime.  Black henna tattoo dye is made from a chemical called p-phenylenediamine (PPD). This chemical is approved for hair dye usage but not for body art usage. The high concentration of the dye may cause severe allergic reactions that can appear 2 to 10 days after the tattoo application. 

Real henna has been used for centuries and is safe to use on the skin. Ancient Egyptians used henna to color their hair and nails. The henna powder is made from the crushed leaves from the henna plant and is green in color but leaves behind a red or orange or brown stain. It used to stain the skin in a decorative manner called Mehndi.  Henna is believed to bring love and good fortune and to protect against evil. Mehndi designs are traditional on the hands and feet for brides of India. They are intricate and quite beautiful. Henna fades from the skin in 1-3 weeks.

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