Some Temporary Tattoos Cause Blistering, Permanent Scars

Spring Break and summer mean beaches, boardwalks, and bared skin. For those who are not willing to commit to permanent ink to embellish those bare arms, backs, and bellies, temporary tattoos are a solution for temporary rebels. Henna tattoos are particularly popular on beaches because they are long lasting and don't flake off like "sticker" tattoos. They are especially popular among teens and young adults who, when contemplating a tattoo, must consider the "OMG, my mom is so gonna kill me" factor. Unfortunately, one type of temporary tattoo can lead to permanent scarring--so even after you seek medical attention for the blistering and burning, you may still be left with an indelible reminder of your momentary rebellion--and your mom will probably ground you for life. Earlier this week, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about "black henna" tattoos. According to the FDA's Office of Colors and Cosmetics, "Just because a tattoo is temporary it doesn't mean that it is risk free." Unlike traditional henna ink, which is made from the crushed and powdered leaves of the henna plant, black henna ink is not henna at all. It contains para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a coal-tar product used in hair dye. Though PPD is approved by the FDA for use in coloring hair, it can cause painful adverse skin reactions in people who are allergic or sensitive to PPD. The FDA bans the use of PPD for skin application, and vendors who use the substance for temporary tattoos may be subject to criminal prosecution and may be held liable in civil court for any resulting injuries. Officials caution that a temporary tattoo artist using black henna ink will not likely admit it when asked, so anyone considering getting a temporary tattoo from a boardwalk or street fair vendor should carefully scrutinize the ink. Unlike real henna, which is brown and must be left in place for several hours to stain the skin, black henna containing PPD is jet black and stains the skin immediately. [caption id="attachment_1758" align="alignright" width="300"]Oklahoma burn injury lawyer Image Credit: FDA.gov[/caption] A reaction may occur immediately or in the hours, days, or even weeks following application. A reaction to PPD or a black henna tattoo may include:

  • redness
  • blisters
  • raised red weeping lesions
  • loss of pigmentation
  • increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • permanent scarring
Additionally, a reaction to a black henna tattoo may create a lifelong PPD sensitivity that can cause allergic reactions from exposure to printer ink, hair dye and textile dye, photographic developer, sunscreen, perfumes and certain medications. If you have suffered an allergic reaction to PPD that was illegally used off-label as a skin application, you may be able to obtain compensation for your medical treatment, pain, and disfigurement.

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