Henna tattoos can be a great alternative for those that are considering getting a tattoo but are nervous about how they will look, or how long they will be on their skin. Henna tattoos look very much like actual tattoos but they generally only last about three weeks. They are also good alternatives for those that don’t mind having something always inked onto their skin but they want to change the drawing often. Authentic henna tattoos are generally considered to be very safe, with allergies being the only possible side effect but even these are rare and mild. However, a different kind of henna called black henna tattoos can be very dangerous and pose serious health risks. This is because it uses the same chemical, called Para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is used to dye hair black.

This chemical is very dangerous and can cause allergic reactions as mild as authentic henna or as powerful and dangerous as anaphylactic shock, which results in the same reaction some people experience when they are stung by a bee. One who has gotten a black henna tattoo in the past and had no reaction but it may take awhile to become sensitive to the ink so one may not experience any problems until they get two or three tattoos. Once a person has become sensitive to the ink and has an allergic reaction, the allergy does not go away. This means that the same person may then continue to experience the allergic reaction anytime they are exposed to black makeup, black clothing, and even some sunscreens, among many other things.

One cannot tell that they are having a reaction to the ink right away and it can take up to ten days to notice that something is wrong. Symptoms can vary from slight itching to open sores that continue to bleed, and even death. Black henna tattoos have been known to cause permanent scarring damage as well. You can tell the difference between black henna tattoos and authentic henna tattoos because real henna has a reddish tone to it whereas black henna is just that, entirely black.