Warning over 'black henna' burns as festival season nears

Black henna warning as the summer approaches
Black henna warning as the summer approaches

Festival-goers, families are parents are being warned to heed the dangers of so'called 'black henna' temporary tattoos as the summer gets closer and families start thinking about the holidays.

The British Skin Foundation has revealed that dermatologists have recorded an increase in the number of reactions being treated at clinics in 2015.

Now parents hoping to treat their children to a temporary tattoo this summer on holiday, at the funfair and party-goers at festivals, are being warned of the dangers.

The charity said: "The majority of BHTTs are not based on henna at all, but a substance called para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which is found in hair dyes. PPD is allowed for use in hair dye, but its use for skin contact products such as temporary tattoos is illegal in the European Union."

When PPD is used on the skin in this way it can cause blistering, painful skin burns and may even lead to scarring. It can also leave the person with a lifelong sensitivity to PPD, which increases the risk of a severe allergic reaction when using hair dye in the future.

An amazing four out of 10 skin doctors saw patients with skin reactions due to temporary tattoos last year, and 80 per cent of the patients were children under 16.

Half of the cases came from those who had travelled outside the EU, but the remaining half were in countries where PDD is illegal, and a quarter were in the UK, according to the British Skin Foundation survey.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson said: “Black henna is well known to cause skin reactions and should be treated with caution, particularly in children.”

Dr Christopher Flower, Director-General of the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) said: “The message is clear: having a ‘black henna’ temporary tattoo presents a significant risk of a very nasty adverse reaction to the tattoo itself. It also increases the risk of either not being able to use most hair dyes in the future or having a bad reaction to them if the warnings are ignored. Most importantly, parents will want to safeguard their children this summer by steering clear of so-called ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos.”