Do Temporary Tattoos Cause Scars?

Do Temporary Tattoos Cause Scars?

Considering getting a temporary tattoo? You may want to think again. Read on…

According to the FDA, temporary tattoos could potentially cause dangerous skin reactions and permanent scarring. The FDA maintains that just because a tattoo claims to be temporary does not mean it doesn’t come with some risks that could be serious and long lasting. Many consumers have reported that after they received a temporary tattoo they had reactions such as blistering, redness, weeping lesions that were raised, pigmentation loss, higher sensitivity to sunlight, and scarring. Has it happened to you?

Temporary vs. Permanent Tattoos
A permanent tattoo uses needles that inject pigment directly into the skin. A temporary tattoo is also often referred to as a “henna” application that is applied to the surface of the skin. In some cases, in order for the colors to last longer, some artists will use a mixture referred to as black henna. However, this contains chemical components that are not present in regular henna, which could be dangerous.

Black hennas contain other ingredients and are mixed with traditional henna colors so that the overall color of the temporary tattoo will be darker. That is where the problem begins for many consumers. The “other” ingredients in black henna are what put consumers at risk for these dangerous reactions of the skin.

One known ingredient that is used with this non-traditional henna is coal-tar. This is a hair dye that contains p-phenylenediamine (PPD) for darkening effects. PPD has been known to cause dangerous reactions on the skin. Many artists ignore the laws against the use of PPD in henna and continue to use it against FDA warnings.

Black henna is often used by artists who operate their shops from temporary locations such as boardwalks, kiosks, and ethnic or specialty shops. They will set up these locations in areas that are high in tourist traffic, especially holiday destinations.

Traditional henna comes from a flowering plant that is native to Africa and in Asia, and which produces the reddish-brown color of henna. This product has been used in body art for many centuries. It is applied as a paste that stains the surface of the skin, and will begin to fade in a few days or a few weeks depending on how it acts on that particular consumer at the time. This henna is safe to use, and those who want henna should be advised to look for this kind of henna only.

What’s Being Done About Temporary Tattoos
Many states have strict regulations and jurisdiction over professional tattooing salons. The way they are monitored and regulated will vary greatly from state to state. Though some states have laws and regulations in place regarding temporary tattoos, others do not. Depending on which state the artist is located in, it could be very difficult for the consumer to know exactly what they are getting.

Henna tattoos are used for a number of religious and cultural ceremonies around the world. Because they are marketed as temporary, their popularity has risen greatly. You can find them at venues such as fairs, resorts, and beach activities. Reactions to the chemicals in black henna can occur immediately after the treatment is applied, or they can occur within two to three weeks after the application. Most of the time, these reactions will land consumers in the emergency room for immediate treatment that can result in long term scarring.

Contact a medical professional immediately if you have received a temporary tattoo and feel any stinging or pain, or see any noticeable effects to the skin where the tattoo was applied. Should your temporary tattoo result in scarring, be sure to use a scar treatment with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe and licorice root, as well as a proven scar fading ingredient such as dimethicone silicone.

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photo credit: Peacock Henna Tattoo via photopin cc

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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