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Black henna tattoos can cause allergic reaction to hair colour

Have you just returned from an exotic beach break? Maybe you wanted to enhance your tan with a fun, temporary black henna tattoo. However did you know these pretty, decorative designs are banned in the EU?

The reason: If you colour your hair (at home or professionally) black henna tattoos can cause nasty, painful, allergic skin reactions.


Always let your hairdresser know

If you have tried a black henna tattoo on holiday, then it’s essential to let your Zaks hair stylist know before your next colour service. Please tell us even if the tattoo (along with your beautiful tan) has faded away.


Because even if you have been colouring your hair for years, these innocent-looking tattoos can cause sudden new allergic reactions to hair dyes, leaving your skin blistered or permanently scarred.


What exactly are black henna tattoos?

Many temporary tattoos are created using genuine henna extract. The orangey-red paste is perfectly safe and applied to your skin in a funky pattern which stains the skin as it dries. This stain or “tattoo” fades gradually and eventually disappears after a few weeks, causing no harm to your skin.

Black henna isn’t henna at all, it is unsafe and banned in the EU. Tattoo artists who apply black henna often mix in PPD (paraphenylenediamine) to make the colour darker,  however this formula can be very harmful when applied directly to the skin and can cause severe reactions to hair colourants.


Is PPD safe for use in hair colour?

Whilst illegal for tattoos, PPD is actually legal and safe for use in many professional hair dyes and is fully regulated under rigorous EU cosmetic regulations.

Even if your skin didn’t react badly when the black henna was applied, the tattoo may still sensitise you to PPD which can increase your chances of reacting badly to the PPD in hair colourants in future.

This is why you should always tell your hairdresser.

The British Skin Foundation advises against black henna tattoos.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation Spokesperson says, “Black henna is well known to cause skin reactions and should be treated with caution…what might seem like pretty body art can quickly turn nasty with horrific blistering, permanent scars and even in the most severe cases life-threatening allergic reactions.”


Zaks Hairdressing values your wellbeing and safety

If you have had a black henna tattoo on holiday this summer, don’t panic. Just let your Zaks Hair stylist know and we’ll carry out a free skin patch test 48 hours before your next colour appointment for your wellbeing and reassurance.

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