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State warns public about henna tattoos

By Staff
The Alabama Department of Public Health asks the public to be aware of the risks involved with getting “temporary” black henna tattoos, because allergic reactions and injuries can result. Black henna tattoos are popular with children, teens and others, and may be available at coastal beach shops and through other vendors.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve henna for direct application to the skin. Henna, a coloring made from a plant, is approved only for use as a hair dye. Since henna typically produces a brown or orange-brown tint, other ingredients must be added to produce other colors, such as those marketed as black henna. This so-called black henna may contain coal tar color p-phenylenediamine, also known as PPD. This ingredient may cause mild to serious allergic reactions in some individuals when it is applied directly to the skin.
Consumers are cautioned to be aware of the risks associated with henna tattoos in general, and of black henna tattoos in particular.
For more information or to report possible reactions to black henna tattoos, visit www.fda.gov.
This recommendation is not associated with “decal” type tattoos that are applied to the skin with a moistened cotton ball. This type of tattoo fades several days after application and is not considered to be harmful.
Henna is mostly unregulated, which causes concerns with state officials.
Tattooing is defined as placing an indelible mark upon the body through the insertion of pigment.
Since henna application does not puncture the skin, it is not defined as a tattoo and therefore is not regulated by the state of Alabama.
However, the public should be aware of the potential risks and complications of black henna.

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