Dangers of temporary tattoos

Temporary tattoos are the fake tattoos which people often obtain when on holidays in places such as Bali or Thailand.  They are often advertised as ‘Henna tattoos’, but in fact rather than containing pure henna (a plant extract), the tattoo often contains permanent hair dye (PPD or Parapheylenediamine) in a concentrated form.  PPD is used to darken the appearance of the tattoo and help the tattoo to last longer.

When someone has an allergic reaction to the temporary tattoo, the reaction is often severe, with blistering and even scarring.

Developing this allergy can be disastrous for someone contemplating a career in hairdressing or beauty therapy, as all permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes contain PPD, or closely related chemicals. It is also means that once you become allergic, you will never be able to use a permanent or semi-permanent hair dye, or use eyebrow and eyelash tints, as they are all based on the same chemical PPD.

But even more concerning, is that once allergic to PPD, a person is sensitised for life. No desensitisation is available for this type of allergy.

It is recommended that when travelling to Asia and the Middle East that travellers avoid getting these tattoos.

A special note for hairdressers-

It is important that hairdressers ask clients about their history of exposure to temporary tattoos before exposing them to PPD/hair dye treatments. If they have been sensitised to PPD in the past, they may suffer a reaction to hair dye applied.