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Temporary tattoos can cause long-lasting allergic reaction

Washington: Even temporary tattoos can cause some serious health problems, US health agency the Food and Drug Administration has warned.

MedWatch, which oversees FDA`s safety information and adverse event reporting program, has received reports of negative and long-lasting reactions to temporary tattoos, CBS News reported.

"Just because a tattoo is temporary it doesn`t mean that it is risk free," said Dr. Linda Katz, director of FDA`s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, in a press release.

Temporary tattoos are often made of henna, a reddish-brown coloring made from a flowering plant from subtropical regions of Africa and Asia. Unlike permanent tattoos that are injected into the skin, temporary tattoos rest on the skin`s surface.

The practice of using dried henna to dye skin, hair, nails and other materials has existed since the Bronze Age.

Today, however, people use "black henna," which is mixed with other ingredients or even is just made of hair dye. The darker color is appealing and lasts longer, but it could contain a coal-tar hair dye ingredient called p-phenylenediamine (PPD).

PPD can cause skin reactions in some people and is not approved to be in cosmetics that are applied on the skin.

A 5-year-old girl had red marks on her forearm for two weeks after the temporary tattoo while another 17-year-old girl had water blisters form.

Other adverse reactions include a girl reportedly having scars on her back after a black henna tattoo was applied there despite the fact that she had red henna tattoos before and never had a negative reaction.

A New England Journal case study in August 2008 showed a girl`s blistered hands after she had a temporary henna tattoo applied on her hands at a wedding, the New York Times reported.