Tuesday, July 16, 2013Authorities

Tattoos on the beach: be cautious!


The French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) has just released a “Vigilance” report, which combines all the alerts and the advice from the Agency about medicines and other health products. In the Cosmetovigilance section, there is a warning about the temporary henna tattoos, widely used in holiday time: their undesirable effects may last for long, the ANSM fingers.

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Vigilances Report n° 58, ANSM, July 2013

Now that summer is there, the ANSM reminds us of all the risks linked to the application of temporary black-henna tattoos. These tattoos are very successful, thanks to their black color, far more appreciated than the current henna color, which goes from brownish to orange. They are available to holiday-makers on beaches, in resorts or in supermarkets.

The black color is given by the illegal use of paraphenylenediamine (PPD) in henna. A side-effect is to make the tattoo last longer. PPD is allowed in cosmetics, only in hair-colorants, at a 6% maximum concentration. This substance is also used as a colorant for textiles.

Every year, dermatologists and allergists report to the ANSM cases of allergy-like contact eczema, which occur some days to some weeks after these tattoos have been performed.  Eczema may be limited to the tattooed area or spread to the adjacent areas, even to the entire body. These reactions may be strong, and may need urgent medical attention, even require hospitalization. They also may lead to an irreversible multi-sensitization, especially to rubber, to clothing colorants and to long-lasting hair colorants. They could prevent some occupational activities, such as a hair-dresser, for …

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