Health Canada is advising Canadians that “black henna” which can be found in some temporary tattoo ink and paste contains the ingredient para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and is not safe. Before receiving a temporary tattoo, you should ask the vendor to confirm that PPD or hair dye was not added to the ink or paste. The use of PPD in cosmetics that are applied directly to the skin (such as temporary tattoos) can cause serious allergic reactions and are banned from sale in Canada.
Allergic reactions to PPD include red skin rashes, contact dermatitis, itching, blisters, open sores, scarring and other potentially harmful effects. Allergic reactions to PPD may lead to sensitivity to other products such as hair dye, sunblock and some types of black clothing.
If you suspect you have suffered an adverse reaction from a “black henna” temporary tattoo, contact Health Canada at 1-866-662-0666 or Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.