Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton is backing a British Skin Foundation campaign to #AvoidBlackHenna as summer approaches.
Her decision to speak out and warn the public of the dangers of so-called ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos follows her son suffering a reaction earlier this year.
Upon returning from a holiday in Morocco, Alfie, aged six, was left with a scar on his leg where the black henna had been.
Natasha said: “I am backing the British Skin Foundation’s #AvoidBlackHenna campaign as there needs to be a greater awareness of the potential permanent dangers posed by black henna tattoos.
“Sharing my photograph of Alfie’s scarred leg will hopefully highlight these dangers and will act as a warning to parents who might not know the risks attached to these so-called temporary ‘black henna’ tattoos.
“Having witnessed first-hand Alfie’s terrible reaction to black henna, it’s just not worth the risk of permanent damage and letting your children have one done at home or abroad.”
The majority of black henna temporary tattoos are not based on henna at all, but a substance called para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is found in hair dyes.
PPD is allowed for use in hair dye, but its use for skin contact products such as temporary tattoos is illegal in the European Union.
When PPD is used on the skin in this way it can cause blistering, painful skin burns and may even lead to scarring.
It can also leave the person with a lifelong sensitivity to PPD, which increases the risk of a severe allergic reaction when using hair dye in the future.
Research among dermatologists shows they have seen an increase in reactions at their clinics across the UK.
Dr Christopher Flower, director-general of the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association said: “The message is clear: having a ‘black henna’ temporary tattoo presents a significant risk of a very nasty adverse reaction to the tattoo itself.
“It also increases the risk of either not being able to use most hair dyes in the future or having a bad reaction to them if the warnings are ignored. Most importantly, parents will want to safeguard their children this summer by steering clear of so-called ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos.”