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Black Henna Temporary Tattoos

During the summer months seaside towns in the South West are targeted by traders offering black henna tattoos to children and adults alike. Various designs are available at prices from £5 upwards. Customers can be mistaken into thinking these tattoos are safe. Some maybe, but some are not.

100% pure natural henna will colour the skin in shades of orange, red burgundy, brown or coffee and has been used for years for temporary tattoos.

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Henna is not black and does not cause blisters and open sores. There are several products marketed as "black henna", some are very dangerous and some are harmless.

If you have had a black henna tattoo look out for the following:

  • blistering
  • open sores
  • scarring

Black temporary tattoos called black henna can be made using a synthetic black hair dye containing Para-phenylendiamine, called 'PPD'. This is a strong sensitizer particularly for children, it is toxic and a carcinogen. A sensitizer is something that your body is allergic to or may become allergic to. A 'PPD' reaction starts about 3 to 10 days after the 'PPD' black henna tattoo is applied.

Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers are warning the public of the dangers of PPD black henna tattoos. If you experience any problems with your black henna tattoo you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Trading Standards Officers will be visiting tattoo artists to advise them of their obligations and to monitor the safety of products.

If you would like further advice please contact either the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline on 0808 223 1133 or our business advice helpline on 0300 1234 191.