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Are Henna Tattoos Safe for Kids?

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Our pediatrician breaks it down.

childs henna tattoo scars and burns

This 11-year-old girl thought she was getting a temporary tattoo at her local mall. What she was left with were painful and permanent scars.

The family attorney believes the girl's injuries point to a type of henna known as black henna. It's a chemical the FDA won't allow for use in temporary tattoos because it can cause this type of reaction. They are now suing the owner of Tennessee's Opry Mills Mall henna kiosk for assault, and suing the mall for negligence.

Are henna tattoos safe for kids? For the answer, we went to momlogic pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson.

"I have seen my fair share of reactions to henna tattoos," Dr. Cara says. "While not very common, anything that comes into contact with the skin can cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Inflamed skin can blister and even scar. There are also reports of inks used in both temporary and permanent tattoos that are expressly not FDA approved."

Dr. Cara continues: "I feel sad for this girl, who thought she was doing something benign and short-lived, and I hope her injury resolves quickly," she says. "But it serves as a good reminder that we ought to think twice before we put anything on our skin. Whether it's a temporary tattoo, face paint, or any other body adornment, we tend to trust the person who is applying it. Meanwhile, the process of application may not be fully sterile, and there is a possibility that we will react to some ingredient. The consequences may -- unfortunately -- be around for a long time to come."

next: Sleepless in the Suburbs
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