The Art
The Gallery
Our Events


Views On Brews
Black Henna Warning


Search The World


Contact us
Artists in Your Area

Black Henna Warning

Lots of people have seen henna artists (and i use that term loosely) abroad. They are on every main street in holiday hotspots across the Mediterranean and the Aegean. However these designs that seduce the eye can have a deadly hidden secret.

Pure, natural henna gives a chocolate brown or deep mahogany red stain on the hands and feet. Or on other parts of the body the stain can be tea colour; shades can vary depending on the individual and other factors

What henna is not however is BLACK. Most black henna as it is called is natural henna adulterated with a toxic chemical dye called called ParaPhenylenediamine or PPD for short. When added to henna the resulting stain is black. PPD may also be used alone to stain skin black PPD stains the skin absolutely black within 2 hours and the stain can last easily 2 weeks. PPD penetrates deep into the skin, reaching the dermis (living cells) and passing into the blood stream is extremely dangerous in either case, because it is a toxin that is able to get into the bloodstream through the skin. Once in the system, PPD toxins collect in the liver, causing liver and kidney damage and exposure can lead to cancer of these organs .

Medical papers and journals about the affects of black henna can be found here

My 9yr old son had one of the worst reactions the experienced Dermatolgist had ever seen. This attached photo was about 4 days after having a 'Henna' tattoo abroad. Recently, my son was put on antibiotics for a bad chest, after 15 mins of taking the first tablet he came up in a dreadful rash. On looking at the information leaflet in the tablets, I noticed that the capsules contain black printer ink!! and very few doctors seemed to be aware of this. I urge people to check their medicines before taking if they have had a reaction to PPD.

My poor son went through about 6 weeks of torture after his tattoo and was on steroids for ages. Please, please, do not let your kids risk this during the coming summer

"About two years ago I had a reaction to a "henna" design of a dragon. The colour faded quickly which surprised me, and about two weeks afterwards my skin welted up about a quarter of an inch in the exact pattern of the dragon. The itching was bad enough to keep me awake at night for several days. The swelling went away, but the pattern stayed for almost a year.

"This is how my daughter's PPD black henna tattoo turned after returning from Bali The worst of it though is she has been feeling ill for the whole week that we have been home. Muscle weakness, headaches, sore throat, stomach ache and light headedness. We are off to the doctors today to
show them this information on PPD to see if her symptoms are related."

This tattoo was applied on the 20th April 2001. This photograph was taken 10 days later "Thought you might like to see how they (the black henna tattoos) look today. The one on her arm is now 1 week and 3 days old."



If you have a black henna tattoo now and are concerned please read bellow, and follow the neccesary links.

Go to your doctor as quickly as possible!  Prompt attention and a correct diagnosis may help you avoid scarring.  Take your doctor printouts of PPD "black henna warnings",   and as well as this page .This will help him evaluate what will probably be an unfamiliar condition. If your physician has internet access, give him the URL for this page,  so he can follow all the links to find out more about PPD Then, if possible take photographs of your injury. If you can, send that and another copy of the printouts to the city health department where you got the PPD "black henna" so they will know that there is a serious health problem at hand.  It is very likely that they have no idea there is a problem! 

Again, if possible, go back to the artist who did the PPD "black henna" to you!  Take the warning printouts and photographs to them also.  They again may have no idea that they are harming people.  Even if they suspected there was a problem with their henna, they may not know how severe the problem is.  They certainly may have no idea they are ruining their own health, their liver and kidneys, and possibly endangering their unborn children by handling PPD every day.  It is important that they find out they are handling a transdermal toxin.  Every day they continue to use PPD "black henna" they are endangering more people, and their own bodies as well. 

If you wish to do so, it is possible to persue criminal or civil charges against the person who scarred you with PPD, and the organization or business who employs them.  There are several damage suits already being pressed against PPD "black henna" artists. 
See: PPD "black henna", the legal aspect a discussion of the potential legal action against PPD "black henna" artists.

There is lots of information on the internet about 'black henna'. Below are some of the best links.

A British Press article about the effect of PPD "Black Henna" on a child: