Health Department in Okaloosa: Beware of black henna tattoos

Henna tattoo for News Bulletin
News Bulletin contributor
Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11:08 AM.

Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County officials say black henna tattoos can pose problems.

Unlike natural brown henna tattoos, which use dried ground henna leaves to create a temporary tattoo, unnatural black henna paste includes para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, a toxic chemical exempt from FDA approval.

Adding PPD dyes the skin faster and makes the tattoo look more like a permanent tattoo, but PPD in black henna tattoos makes them unsafe and can produce serious health effects. Symptoms include itching or burning, blistering, oozing, scab formation and, in some cases, permanent scarring.

Ask to see the paste's ingredients before receiving a henna tattoo, health officials advise.

In Okaloosa County, anyone providing temporary tattoos must display a notice stating henna use is not FDA approved and may cause harmful reactions.

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