Black henna used for making tattoos can cause allergic skin reactions and even
permanent scars and should not be used, the Health Ministry warned on
The ministry said it had recently received numerous reports of
swelling, redness, blisters and other symptoms from reactions to the henna
Henna is a natural plant dye with a reddish-brown color widely used
for cosmetic purposes in the Middle East and the Far East. Pure henna is
considered safe, with skin reactions rare. But when used for tattoos, a chemical
dye called PPD is added to make it black. PPD is known to be an industrial
If the chemical is added to henna to produce “black henna,” it
has a significant risk of causing allergic reactions. Its use is thus prohibited
for making tattoos on the skin – but despite a warning to that effect on the
product packaging, the law is not widely enforced.
Black henna is also
widely used in Israel to make temporary tattoos at fairs and
According to reports in Israel and abroad, they can cause scars.
If an allergic reaction results from such tattoos, the ministry counsels that
immediate medical attention should be sought.