Henna Tattoos (Mehndi)

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Henna Tattoos (Mehndi)

Topic Overview

Direct application of henna to the skin to create a temporary tattoo is a process known as mehndi. Henna is a plant-based colouring that is approved in the United Provinces only as a hair dye. It is not approved for direct application to the skin.

Health Canada has issued a health advisory regarding the use of black henna temporary tattoo ink and paste, which contain para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a substance considered unsafe when it comes in prolonged contact with the skin. Because of the risk of developing an allergic reaction to PPD, Health Canada recommends that you avoid this dye for henna tattoos.

The risk of developing a severe allergic reaction to henna increases after an episode of contact dermatitis. For that reason, it is recommended that you avoid hair dyes containing henna if you have had a previous problem with an allergic reaction to henna in a temporary tattoo.

Your first henna tattoo should be in a place where you can cover it if it lasts longer than you expect. It is not a good idea try to remove your henna tattoo; let it naturally wear off. Be very careful not damage your skin—do not scrub or pick at your tattoo.

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Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised October 11, 2010

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