Jun 10, 2008

Henna tattoos can scar!

A couple came by the shop on Sunday asking if I do henna tattoos. I told them that I've been trying to find airbrush stencil designs that are similar to the intricate designs you see in henna tattoos. Nonetheless, she was determined to get a henna tattoo by the end of the day.

There are two types of henna. There is the traditional henna paste that is made from natural ingredients and then there is the other type of henna called Black Henna. Let's look at what Black Henna can do to your skin.



Black Henna contains a dangerous chemical called Para-phenylenediamine (PPD). Human do have a natural resistance to PPD's, some more than others. For example, one person can be exposed to PPDs everyday for their entire lives without seeing any side effects. But another person, may see side effects straight away. It is also a chemical that breaks down your natural resistance levels. If you don't see any side effects today, don't be too sure that you won't tomorrow.

Some of the side effects are red sores, rashes and even welts. It all starts with itching and redness around the henna tattoo.

So yeah, Black Henna is NOT PURE HENNA. Natural henna henna has been in use for thousands of years. Henna is NEVER blue, yellow, green, purple or black. If a product stains skin those colors, it is NOT henna. Those stains come from other dyes. Ask what dyes those are. If the supplier can't or won't tell you what dyes those are, and prove it, or you don't like the sound of what they tell you, don't put the stuff on your skin.

So here is the big question. How do you tell if a henna artist is using Pure Henna or Black Henna? Well, there is no point asking the artist. He or she will likely lie to you. Always insist on looking at the list of ingredients that go into inks and pastes. All my airbrush tattoo inks come with a list of FDA approved ingredients.

It's better to be safe than sorry. Don't you think?


Portions of this post is from Australian Airbrushed Tattoos and images are from The Henna Page.

13 comments:

  1. Your headline is erronous and doesn't even agree with your article. HENNA DOES NOT CAUSE SCARING. PPD does.

    Besides, it's not very nice to get all that info from a henna artist then say "better safe that sorry." How about just being educated? Sometimes you can get horrible diseases from tattoos if the studio/artist isn't using proper sterilization techniques. Should we tell people not to get tattoos or should we educate them about how to make sure that they're getting their tattoo from a responsible artist?

    There's a simple way to tell if a product is safe. Ask the artist what color the design will be immediately after the paste is removed. Natural henna should be orange and take several days to mature to black or brown. PPD laced stuff will be black or brown right away.

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  2. Yep, had you plagerized Catherine's Henna Page information completely, then you would have at least had accurate informtion. Funny thing is, she offers to share that information in a few different forms and you could have gotten it in a usable format where you didn't need to copy her pictures and words as your own. Or, most honest yet, just linked to her site. That woulda worked.

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  3. Noel,
    I have to agree. As a henna artist who uses only safe natural henna and has great results and a growing customer base, it really is damaging to see headlines like "henna can scar". That's akin to my posting on my site that "tattoos can scar". So please, the PPD info is great, and thanks for that (only request is please credit your source) but please change your title to "PPD used in black henna can scar" to be accurate and no create more enemies among your fellow body artist brothers and sisters!
    Paula
    www.LotusHennaOnline.com

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  4. Also, most reliable henna artists will gladly share what's in their paste just to show that they are using safe henna and NOT crap laced with PPD. In fact, people SHOULD ask the artist what's in her paste. If she won't tell you, THEN you should move on.

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  5. Well ladies, I've added links at the bottom of the post...

    I will not change the title of the post. There's a difference between 'can' and 'will'. I chose not to use the title 'Henna will Scar' because only the black henna does the damage.

    Have any of you been to Bali? Try asking any of the henna artists there what's in their paste? They'll tell you that it's a traditional paste made from natural ingredients. I have personally seen a few people with scars from the henna.

    To this 'stained' person, I got my information from Australian Airbrushed Tattoos.

    I'll say this...tattoos can scar too. If someone goes to an unprofessional artist, they could risk getting an infection or a badly done tattoo. Some tattoo artists use cheap watered down ink too.

    End of the day, it's up to the customer to choose what they want.

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  6. I agree with Noel on this one. I guess he was just trying to warn his readers on the dangers of henna tattoos.

    In no way did he put henna artists down in this post.

    The scars do look scary! He is creating awareness. Henna artists around should step up their game by doing whatever is necessary to educate the public on the dangers of black henna.

    Here in asia, we do not have regulations that prohibit black henna being using by henna artists. My guess is that Noel's post was targetted at Singaporeans and the rest of the readers that reside in Asia...

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  7. I understand that but my point is that HENNA CAN NOT SCAR. It's just simply wrong. Poison added to henna, or used in place of henna does that. I don't mean to cause a wave of decent here, but this lie has a real impact on my income and livelihood! That makes it important to me to set the story strait where ever I see it spread.

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  8. To The Invader: Thanks mate! I have all the respect for henna artists. The good ones that is... I met a few of them in India last year. Bunch of really old women that do amazing henna art. Total respect!

    And yes, this post was for my readers in Singapore. In Singapore, you do not need a special license to operate an airbrush tattoo business, henna or real tattoos. All you need is to register your business.

    With that said, lots of things can go wrong. Some artists end up using cheap products just to save a couple of dollars.

    to henna muse: My apologies to you and the henna community if this post has offended you. I mentioned in my post about the dangers of Black Henna. I also mentioned that Pure Henna is safe. At the end of the post, I advised my readers to ask the henna artist for a list of ingredients that are in the henna paste.

    So, if the henna artist doesn't have an ingredient's list to show to a customer, the customer should be wary and move on....

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  9. Thanks, Noel for the link addition to HennaPage.com and for your clarifications. It's also amazing to note that Black "henna" is not declared illegal in the U.S. and there are those using it at high tourist places like Venice Beach all the time. Many times children are getting this poisonous chemical paste slathered on them! Hopefully the awareness spread through posts like these will finally make some regulations mandatory and get those folks off the planet.
    Paula

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  10. It isn't? I would think the States would be strict about unapproved products.

    Hmm...a client recently requested for glow in the dark bodyart ink. I searched high and low for the damn ink and the only supplier I found was in China. I asked around and the ingredients found in glow ink has not been approved by the F.D.A. I told the client that there's no chance in hell that I'll bring in a product that hasn't been approved.

    You know, I guess it all boils down to the artist. He or she should take pride in their work and use the best products in the market.

    Paula, do you have a henna website? I'll like to list it on my blog. :)

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  11. Actually, natural henna isn't exactly legal in the states for use on skin. They've decided not to approve henna for use on skin due to scars and reactions caused by ppd lace stuff, rather than go to the effort of making a differentiation between the two. We work only through a loop hole that products applied by professionals aren't regulated in the same way.

    This is why we get a little hot about this issue. If people continue to act as though henna and ppd are the same thing, we will be in this legal limbo forever.

    Was I at any time rude? Didn't mean to be. I'll apologize for Stained as well, because I imagine she was not aware that the original author of that material WANTS it to be circulated in order to educate people and keep them safe.

    Regardless of the difference between "can" and "will" Henna CANNOT AND WILL NOT CAUSE SCARING. It's the poison that people put in it. No, a PPD peddler will probably not admit it, but I gave a simple way to tell in a previous comment.

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  12. there are a few easy ways to tell wether the henna being used is the real deal or not. if you are familiar with henna, you will notice the actual henna paste has a distinct smell and color. henna paste is a dark brownish green color when first applied, and becomes darker as it dries. when the paste is removed, the stain should be orange, then gradualy darken. it should not be brown or black right off the bat.

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