Black henna contains a black paste that contain high levels of paraphenylenediamine (PPD). Even though this chemical is used in most hair dyes, it is known to trigger reactions in some individuals.
It is important to note that PPD is carefully and lawfully included in several permanent hair dyes in which clear usages instructions are stated. As for black henna, it often includes PPD at elevated levels that provides its dark color quickly. If it is used on the skin as a transient tattoo, PPD is capable of causing chemical burns and even trigger allergic reactions.
Difference between real henna
Real henna is generally safe to use which has an orange color with a reddish to brownish tint. Remember that real henna is not black, but orange-brown. A dark temporary tattoo must be treated with caution.
It is important to check the color if a product is listed as henna. Take note that henna has an orange-red color, thus if being offered a temporary tattoo using “black henna”, it is not the actual henna. If in doubt, avoid getting one.
Risk for chemical burns from PPD
Not all cases involve a reaction to black henna, but can be painful if one occurs. The indications range from discomfort such as tingling or burning, stinging, redness, swelling and blistering skin. A reaction can be severe and result to lasting skin scarring in the outline of a tattoo.
If an individual develops this reaction, a doctor should be consulted right away and inform him/her what happened.
The individual might be treated for a chemical burn or an allergic reaction. If a reaction persists or worsens, a doctor should be consulted since the site can also become infected.
A reaction can result to contact dermatitis and might indicate that the skin is more susceptible to react to other products that include PPD such as hair dye in the future.
If an individual has plans to dye his/her hair, it is important to carefully check the description. The name of the product should be indicated in the list of ingredients on the packaging – check if Toluene-2,5-diamine or p-Phenylenediamine are present.