Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the dangers of temporary tattoos

Joel Schlessinger MD discusses the dangers of temporary tattoos

We’ve all seen kiosks at the mall, park or outdoor festival that offer temporary or henna tattoos. While many view this art work as a fun, easy alternative to permanent tattoos, there are dangers associated with temporary tattoos that can cause skin damage, irritation and even scarring. In an article featured on, Joel Schlessinger MD and other experts explain why you should avoid marking up your skin with these works of art.

Joel Schlessinger MD sees reactions to henna, one of the most common types of temporary dye.

According to Joel Schlessinger MD, natural henna is made from tropical plants and has been used for centuries to dye hair, skin and fingernails. Many modern henna tattoos however, use black henna that is supposed to be darker and longer-lasting. This type of dye contains ingredients that can cause allergic reactions including redness, blisters, raised bumps and scarring.

Discoloration and scars occur often enough that the FDA has recently issued an alert about temporary tattoos to encourage individuals to avoid them. These marks can last anywhere from months to years and can be difficult to remove. While changes in pigmentation can be covered with makeup, the raised texture must be addressed by using resurfacing treatments.

Avoid these dangers with a few helpful tips from Joel Schlessinger MD and other experts.

Unlike permanent tattoos, most states do not have standards to regulate those who perform temporary tattoos.

“The best way to stay safe is to completely avoid temporary tattoos of any kind,” Joel Schlessinger MD says. If you have already received a henna tattoo, use a gentle makeup remover to take it off and avoid scrubbing the area too harshly.

Before you ink, ask the artist what kind of henna they are using.

“When kiosks promise darker, longer-lasting temporary tattoos, this is a sign they could be using black henna,” Joel Schlessinger MD says.

Questions or concerns? Ask Joel Schlessinger MD in the comments section.


About drjoelschlessinger

Dr. Joel Schlessinger is a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon based in Omaha, NE.

Posted on January 2, 2014, in Dr. Joel Schlessinger in the Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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