The Food and Drug Administration has received complaints from people who
have received products marketed as henna temporary tattoos, especially
so-called "black henna," at places such as salons and kiosks at beaches and
fairs. There have been reports of allergic reactions, skin irritations,
infections, and even scarring. "Black henna" may contain the added "coal tar"
color, p-phenylenediamine, also known as PPD, which can cause allergic
reactions in some people. Henna itself is made from a plant and typically
produces a brown, orange-brown, or reddish-brown tint. Other ingredients must
be added to produce other colors. Even brown shades of products marketed as
henna may contain other ingredients intended to make them darker or make the
stain last longer. While the FDA has approved henna for coloring hair, and PPD
is used in cosmetics as a hair dye, neither of these color additives is
approved for direct application to the skin. Read more about
summer safety for you and your kids.