Art fairs and festivals abound in early fall. Given the popularity of permanent tattoos, it’s not surprising that Henna art, an ancient and temporary form of body art, is so popular among festival goers. Natural henna is a reddish brown dye that is made from the henna plant. Henna art has been around since the times of the ancient Egyptians.
In modern times, however, a new type of henna dye, called “black henna” has been created. Black henna dye, which sometimes contains natural henna, frequently contains coal tar hair dye. This hair dye is used because the resulting art is darker and stays on the skin longer than natural henna alone. Unfortunately, according to the Food and Drug Administration, coal tar hair dye can also cause severe allergic reactions if applied to the skin, including redness, blisters and permanent scars.
If you want to get a henna tattoo, ask to see what type of henna is being used. If coal tar hair dye, or p-phenylenediamine (PPD is included in the ingredient list, move on to another booth. Some souvenirs aren’t worth the cost.