Henna is a small flowering shrub. Henna leaves are dried and turned into a fine powder. That powder can be used to dye hair or stain the skin temporarily. Henna body art has been used to adorn women’s bodies in a variety of ceremonies for thousands of years. Henna is a type of dye, from the Egyptian privet or henna tree. The name henna is also used to refer to a form of temporary body art based on staining with those dyes. It has been used to dye skin, hair and fingernails – as well as fabrics – since the ancient Egyptian times. Henna tattoos are often applied during religious celebrations – such as weddings and holy days. It’s important to distinguish between the usually safe, age-old orange natural henna, and the dangerous new black henna. However, the word henna is now often used to describe both types, including black or “neutral” henna – which is made from chemicals rather than occurring naturally.
Read More: Is Henna Tattoo Safe for My Teenager?
All You Need to Know About Henna Tattoos for Kids
The tattoos are generally an intricate design. Often, they start on the hand and the design goes up and down both arms. It’s important to note that henna tattoos aren’t really “tattoos.” henna only stains the skin. A henna tattoo will fade in time, about 2-4 weeks, depending on the type of henna that has been used. It is close to impossible to remove except through natural fading, so if you allow your teen to get a henna tattoo, know that it will be there for a while. Some people say you can speed up the fading by applying hydrogen peroxide to the area daily. But, the results on that are fairly mixed.
Read More: 21 Cool Tattoo Ideas for Teens
Difference between natural henna and black henna
Henna is a green powder and smells very earthy (like wet tree bark). Henna powder is created by crushing the dried leaves of a henna plant. Natural henna stains the skin a light orange to a dark mahogany brown and will last anything from one to four weeks. Natural henna will not stain your skin black.
Black henna has to be chemically altered to leave a black stain on your skin. Unethical artists and manufacturers may add chemicals such as ppd (para-phenylenediamine) to get that deep black colour people are demanding. Ppd is a potentially harmful chemical and is usually found in hair dyes. Hair dye packages insist that the dye only be left on the scalp for 20-30 minutes, anything longer can be harmful to your hair and or scalp.
Are henna tattoos safe for your kids?
First of all, there are two types of henna commonly used for body decorations. These are brown henna and black henna. Brown henna is a natural product which is made using the process described above. It is safe on most people’s skin. Black henna however is dangerous.
It’s considered to be dangerous because it contains a chemical substance called paraphenylenediamine, or ppd. Ppd can also be found in greases and oils and diesel and petrol. The substance’s danger comes from a possible allergic reaction to it. Ppd allergies are among the most volatile and symptoms include blistering and skin burns which can cause severe scarring. Here, we can see the consequences of a black henna tattoo. In this case, the black henna caused a severe burn which left the victim with a lifelong scar.
Side effects and symptoms of bad henna tattoos
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to henna include:
- Burning sensation
- Pulsing sensation
- Increased sensitivity.
The reaction to a henna tattoo can manifest itself 7-14 days after exposure, although some people experience symptoms straight away.
Tips while using henna
Understand that using henna on your skin or hair is not necessarily safe
The food and drug administration, or fda, has received multiple reports from consumers who experienced long-lasting and severe side effects from the application of henna for temporary tattoos. Side effects include, but are not limited to, red lesions that are raised and weeping, loss of pigmentation of the skin, blisters, increased sunlight sensitivity, redness, and permanent scarring.
- These reactions can occur immediately after getting a temporary tattoo using traditional red henna or “black henna.”
- Reactions from temporary henna tattoos can also occur up to two or three weeks after receiving the tattoo.
- You can also experience adverse side effects from hair dye that contains “black henna.”
Read product labels carefully
If you are purchasing henna to use at home on your skin or hair, make sure you examine each ingredient listed on the label. Avoid any color additives in henna dyes to be used on the skin. If you are getting a henna tattoo from a tattoo artist or your hair dyed by a professional, make sure you inquire about the ingredients in the dye they will use on your skin or hair.
- Ask specifically about the inclusion of p-phenylenediamine, or ppd, and avoid getting a tattoo with this additive.
Avoid using henna on all children
Children can be particularly sensitive to henna. Skin sensitivities and allergic reactions to henna can occur in children.
- Children with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency are at particular risk, as applying henna to the skin of children with this condition can cause a life-threatening condition called hemolysis.
- Seek immediate medical attention if a child with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency has been exposed to henna.
Use red, or traditional, henna
Red henna is generally safe when applied to the skin. Staining the skin reddish-brown, traditional henna can be safely used for body art. Red henna does, however, carry the risk of rare instances of reactions ranging from contact allergy to hypersensitivity.
Henna tattoos are beautiful and would look great on your kids, but make sure to take the necessary precautions.