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Old 04-07-2006, 12:52 PM   #1
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Ok, kids, it's my duty to make sure all you guys heading out this spring/summer/fall/etc. have a bit of forewarning about so-called "black henna". I posted this a couple years ago but figured it would be a good idea to do it again. As a (natural) henna artist, I frequently see and/or hear about people who have had nasty experiences with "black" henna tattoos. This stuff is NOT HENNA. It is HAIR DYE. And I'm pretty sure none of you are interested in painting your skin with hair dye, right??

First of all, real, natural henna is a thing of beauty. The stain it leaves on your skin is a shade of brown and it lasts approximately 1 to 3 weeks, depending on a lot of different factors including how well you take care of it. Many photographs you see with henna designs look black because the photo was taken with the paste still on the skin. The paste is drawn on the skin kind of like cake decorating, and a *real* henna artist will tell you to leave it on for AT LEAST 4 hours, even all day and/or overnight if possible.

Here are some examples of REAL henna with the paste on and the stain after the paste is off:

Resulting stain, one day later, it was darker than this 24 hours after this photo was taken (this is Voyd's hand, by the way! )



Here are some of the facts and dangers about "black" henna.

1. As stated above: it's not henna. It's hair dye. The chemical that causes so many problems is called Para-Phenylenediamine, also labeled as PPD. PPD is a trans-dermal toxin, meaning the molecules are small enough to penetrate the epidermis and get into the bloodstream. After this, their favorite spots to live are the kidneys and liver. This is why so many people are allergic to hair dye and why so many hair stylists become allergic to it after a period of time. It's a big, big problem.

2. PPD can do a couple of nasty things: When used as a temporary tattoo ink, as in the case of "black henna", it can leave awful chemical burns, blisters and permanent scars. That's usually the mildest reaction you can have. There are MANY documented cases of people having such horrible reactions to PPD that they can no longer wear any clothing that has any dye in it at all. White cotton for the rest of their lives. Yes, seriously. If you want more horror stories, PM me and I'll be happy to send you medical files.

3. Perhaps the worst is that families on vacation let their kids get tattooed with this shit. Little kids are the MOST susceptible to having a nasty reaction.

The most likely hotspots for black henna artists are beaches. If you're really jonesing for a temporary tattoo of some sort, either look at the airbrush stuff or body paint, or be really adventurous and try real henna. Here's how you can tell if an artist is using black henna or real henna:

-Ask what color the stain will be. If they say black, that's clue #1. Someone using real henna will never tell you the design will be black.
-Ask how long you should leave it on. If they say 2 hours or less, that's PPD. Henna doesn't work that fast.
-Traditional safe henna paste is khaki green, greenish brown, or very dark brownish green. Traditional henna paste smells like spinach, or you may smell fragrances like pine, tea tree oil, or mentholatum from essential oils they're using. These are safe for use on skin. PPD doesn't have a smell. (Sidenote: If you're in the Middle East or North Africa, some artists use gasoline or kerosene in their natural henna paste to darken the stain. Trust your nose. )
-Ask how long the stain will last. PPD "Black Henna" stains typically last more than a week and stay black throughout that time. Henna stains last 1 - 3 weeks, fading to orange during that period. There are some safe body art products-- such as body paints-- that come in black, but they don't last longer than 3 days. If it's black and long lasting, it's probably PPD.
-Ask them what's in the mix. A reputable henna artist will answer: henna, lemon juice, essential oils. You'll be able to smell them. The artist should be able to show you what they're working with. You should see green plant powder, and safe natural materials. Someone using PPD either won't know what's in their paste or they'll tell you it's "just black henna".

Want some pretty pictures?

This was one week after application of PPD:


This was on a 10-year-old kid, two days after application of PPD:


Same kid, 6 months later:


Besides the fact that these are horrible wounds, the snobby artist in me also hates the fact that these people were permanently scarred with such shitty artwork!

Please let me know if you have any questions about this and for god's sake, PLEASE do not get near this stuff. Many people are able to get tattoos with PPD and won't have a reaction. They're lucky.
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:05 PM   #2
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hooooolly crap! I had no idea... i came sooo close to getting one once. But the guy would only take cash and i didn't have enough $$.
Close call...pheeeeeew!
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:08 PM   #3
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wow that's pretty gross...thanks for the advice SV!
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:17 PM   #4
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Yeah, when I got "Live Hard Die Young!" writton in that stuff on my ass, I wasn't expecting to have the horrible scar that I do today. Stay away from that stuff...and boones too...
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:34 PM   #5
 
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You know, I hadn't really ever considered a henna tattoo until now...but maybe in the future. If I do get one, I'll make sure to get the poop-color, and not black. :D
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Old 04-08-2006, 02:46 AM   #6
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Oh my....that is scary stuff. I pity the poor people with those scars...

Thanks for the info!
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by PlayPal@Apr 7 2006, 06:17 PM
..and boones too...
[snapback]111097[/snapback]
hey...boones is damn good!
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:56 PM   #8
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thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:14 PM   #9
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Thanks SV for saving us all in advance!
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Old 04-13-2006, 11:17 AM   #10
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What is this 'boones' you speak of?!
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:08 PM   #11
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Another thing to consider about the toxicity of "black henna" tattoos.. The dye used can actually INCREASE your susceptibility to allergy. I got one a number of years ago on Huntington Beach just for kicks... A few days later, I noticed I was breaking out and more sniffly and itchy whenever I was exposed to allergens than other before. This increased sensitivity to allergens lasted NEARLY A YEAR, all due to to the black henna dye... So yeah, stay the fuck away from this stuff.
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Old 04-13-2006, 04:38 PM   #12
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^ Exactly... this is why there are some people who can't ever wear anything but white cotton and basically have to live in a bubble. Granted that's a less-common, somewhat extreme reaction, but it does happen.

You're lucky it only lasted a year, for a lot of people it appears to be indefinite.
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:13 AM   #13
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Listen to Jeanie!

Bali (Indonesia) is a popular holiday destination for Australians and they have so called "henna artists" many of which have some terrible after affects!

ev
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:09 PM   #14
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Woops! I suppose I shoulda read this before I got hammered on the beach here in Rio and got a decent-sized one on my leg.

This was over a month ago and I had no reaction at all. It took about 2 weeks to "wear off" and I haven't noticed anything to date. Mine was most definately black. They guy used something resembling an ink pin and it was kind of sludgy ink that reminded me of runny glue.

Here are pics:

With "tatoo":



At least one month later:



I AM IN NO WAY ENDORSING THIS OR SAYING THAT NOTHING WILL HAPPEN!!! With that said I suppose I am lucky. Mine was definately hair dye because the hairs on my leg, at close inspection, are dyed black!! You can't really tell from the pic but I can see it.

I hope I don't turn into the kid or otherwise it will have to become a real tatoo to cover it up!

STAY SAFE!!

Foo

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Old 08-01-2006, 12:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by space virgin@Apr 7 2006, 12:52 PM
The most likely hotspots for black henna artists are beaches.
[snapback]111069[/snapback]
Lol, foo, yup you walked right into this one!
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Old 08-01-2006, 01:03 PM   #16
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Yes, Foo, you were lucky. A lot of people don't get immediate reactions so they automatically assume it's safe. But even without any noticeable skin reaction the PPD molecule is still small enough to get into your bloodstream.

Glad you got lucky, bro.
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:18 PM   #17
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I got a henna tattoo on the beach in Phuket a couple years back and I'm pretty sure it was the black ink. The tattoo was all raised and bumpy, but luckily I didn't have a serious reaction to it. Watch out in Phuket!!
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Old 04-24-2007, 07:39 AM   #18
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Thank you so so so much!!! I was thinking about getting henna, now i wont go for the black henna. Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:24 AM   #19
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as the person who started this thread, any trained henna artist (the same goes for tattoos also - if your gettin a real one ask many many questions.) WILL tell you about what they are using, what will happen etc.

many 'fake' henna artists wont know what is in it, or wont want to tell you. if you get suspicious, walk away
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:34 AM   #20
 
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I appreciate you for the information........
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