Some henna tattoos could cause a lifelong allergy to a common chemical found in dyes, warn scientists. The German researchers warn that the trendy tattoos can lead to months of pain and discomfort. The problem is not the henna dye itself but the chemical para-phenylene diamine (PPD) which is sometimes added to make the tattoo darker.
Henna tattoos are a long established practise in India, where it is called mehendi. Dr Bjorn Hausen, of the Dermatological Centre, in Buxtehude, Germany, said his research showed that henna containing PPD could cause contact dermatitis and made the skin swollen, red and itchy.
He added it could even stop people taking jobs in certain industries where they might come into contact with the chemical. Dr Hausen said: "It is possible that the mark from the tattoo will remain for several months, which is of course socially quite uncomfortable if it concerns parts of the body which are very visible such as the hands or the fingers.
A spokeswoman said: "With the growing rate of allergies that are affecting people we would say to people to proceed with extreme caution and if they think they are slightly allergic they should not go for one at all."Dr Hausen's findings appear in Deutsches Arzteblatt, the Journal of the German Medical Association and New Scientist.