Traditionally an eastern beauty practice, henna tattoos have become more mainstream as women from all corners of the world seek to accentuate their beauty. Unlike real tattoos that inject ink into the skin for a permanent result, henna is temporary and requires no needles at all. This makes them much easier to get, but some people still have concerns about their safety.
What Are Henna Tattoos?
Genuine henna is simply a mixture of ground up henna leaves, water, and sometimes a few drops of essential oil or lemon juice. None of these ingredients are damaging in any way unless you have a rare reaction to one of them. This natural recipe has been used for thousands of years and side effects are basically nil.
The henna tattoo is made by painting this mixed paste onto your skin in a lovely and sometimes highly detailed pattern. The henna is left on for a day or so before it can be picked or brushed off. The plant stains your skin brown in the design the artist created. These designs last for approximately 10 to 20 days.
Are Henna Tattoos Safe?
Natural, real henna is incredibly safe and has been used successfully for a very long time on all different body parts. While the FDA and reputable henna tattoo artists do recommend not using it on children, adults who want henna tattoos can get them without fear.
However, there are some dishonest and untrustworthy henna artists who now offer what is being called black henna. This mixture appears black before it is applied and creates a darker brown or black stain on the skin instead of one that is cinnamon or rusty brown. While this style may seem attractive to some people, it is best to stay far away from black henna.
There is no henna plant that is black. People achieve this dye by mixing it with PPD, or para-phenylenediamine, which is a man-made product used in hair dye. It is sometimes called coal or tar dye and is not recommended for use on skin.
The result? What you wanted to be an attractive design on your skin turns into a mess of redness, swelling, blisters, and an unbearable itch that will not go away. Even if you get one black henna tattoo that does not result in this type of reaction, it does not mean the second one will be the same.
Various scientific research studies and even the federal government's recommendations clearly show that PPD is a highly toxic substance that should not be used on skin or inhaled. Avoid black henna tattoos at all costs and make sure the artist is using a greenish brown and paste instead of a very dark one. Also, ask what color the end designs will be. If the answer is black or any other color, unhealthy dyes were added to the henna mixture and should be avoided.
With due diligence and proper research into the particular artist you wish to get a henna tattoo from, the experience can be quite enjoyable and very rewarding. These highly-detailed and unique patterns can accentuate your beauty or add exotic interest to any outfit or look.