British Skin foundation warns young people to avoid black henna, following survey

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24th August 2015 15:53 - Chemicals

Recent survey findings have prompted the British Skin Foundation to issue a warning to young people to avoid temporary black henna British Skin foundation warns young people to avoid black henna, following surveytattoos, following the discovery that many dermatologists are seeing an increase in reactions at their clinics.

The British Skin Foundation warned that parents allowing their children to get a temporary tattoo on holiday, or at a fair, as well as individuals at festivals, may not be aware of the potential dangers of black henna tattoos.

According to the British Skin Foundation, the majority of black henna tattoos are not based on henna, but on a chemical called para-phenylenediamine, which is used in hair dye. Para-phenylenediamine is legal to use in hair dyes, however, in the European Union, it is illegal to use it within products for the skin, such as temporary tattoos.

Para-phenylenediamine can cause blistering and painful burns when in contact with the skin.

Findings from the British Heart Foundation’s survey discovered that approximately 40 per cent of dermatologists had seen patients with a skin reaction to temporary black henna tattoos. Further to this, around 1 in 20 dermatologists surveyed said that more than 80 per cent of the reactions to temporary black henna tattoos seen in their clinics were in children younger than 16.

The dermatologists surveyed confirmed that around 50 per cent of the patients they’d seen with a bad reaction to temporary black henna tattoo had got theirs outside of the European Union, however, the remaining half had got theirs within the EU and 27 per cent of these were in the UK.

Approximately 2 in 3 of the dermatologists in the survey had seen an increase in patients with allergic reactions to hair dyes, many of which had previously had a temporary black henna tattoo.

Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation Spokesperson, Dr Anjali Mahto, said of the findings:

“Black henna is well known to cause skin reactions and should be treated with caution, particularly in children.”

Dr Christopher Flower, Director – General at the Cosmetic, Toiletry &  Perfumery  Association (CTPA), also said of the findings:

“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.  This summer,  parents  will  want  to  keep  their  children  safe,  by  steering  clear  of  so-called ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos.”

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