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Henna is red or brown dye that is typically derived from the dried leaves of the henna shrub (Lawsonia inermis). In the United States, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), henna is approved for hair dye only. Henna is used in direct application to the skin for temporary tattoos, in particular for decorating hands and feet. Dried leaves are ground into a fine powder and mixed with oil or water to make a paste which is applied to the skin. Allergic reactions from pure henna are rarely reported. It is not advised that henna be used in infants or young children. (Source: www.health.state.mn.us)
For those who don’t want a permanent tattoo, there’s another option: temporary henna tattoos. It sounds like the perfect idea, especially if you don’t want to worry about tattoo regret or taking the time to figure out what you want on your skin for the rest of your life.
The cost of getting a henna tattoo depends on many different factors, including where you live, the size and complexity of the design you want and who is doing the tattoo application. Some artists charge by the hour and some by the design, but, on average, you can get a henna tattoo for anywhere from $20 to $200. If you want to attempt a henna tattoo at home, there are kits available containing everything you need for around $10 to $20 or more, again depending on design and complexity.
The increasingly global popularity of henna has its pros and cons, according to experts. The biggest drawback is perhaps the proliferation of a chemical called paraphenylenediamine (PPD), aka "black henna." "'Black henna' contains harmful chemicals and dyes that can burn the skin and leave permanent damage," Assar says. "People need to be cognizant of what they are asking for. When you ask to get your henna done, triple-check the fact that the henna being used is chemical-free. If one opts for a black or bluish color, Jagua Gel is available and has a beautiful stain. It is all natural and is free of chemicals and dyes." (Source: people.howstuffworks.com)
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.