Temporary tattoos are growing in popularity across Europe – whether it’s at beach resorts or music festivals.
But what could start off as a pretty pattern on your skin can actually leave you with gruesome burns and scarring.
And holidaymakers are finding this out the hard way, with some posting photographs of the resulting damage on social media.
As these temporary tattoos are often done as a joke, people have been left with names, silly shapes and even the Nando’s logo.
The issue arises when these artists use black henna – not the natural stuff – to paint pictures on to skin.
Black henna can be so dangerous, the NHS specifically warns against its use thanks to a chemical in the liquid which can be incredibly harmful to skin.
Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is legally allowed to be used in hair dyes within the EU, but this usage is strictly controlled.
But black henna often contains high levels of PPD and, when applied to the skin, can cause chemical burns or allergic reactions.
NHS advice on black henna tattoos
Advice on the official website reads: “If you see a shop or stall offering to paint black tattoos onto your skin, don’t be tempted to get one.
“It could leave you scarred for life and put you at risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction.
“Often called “black henna” or “neutral henna” tattoos, these patterns painted onto your skin are readily available abroad. They may also be available in the UK, at festivals and fairs, and to buy online.
Black henna can be dangerous to use (Image: Getty)
“But the black paste used in these temporary tattoos may contain high levels of a chemical dye so powerful and toxic that it is illegal to use it on the skin in this way.”
How do you know if it’s safe to use?
Check the colour. Real henna is generally safe for the skin and has a red, orange or brown tint to it.
Dr Chris Flower, director general of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association. says that everyone should be suspicious of black “tattoos”.
Real henna has a much brighter colour
“Real henna is never black, but is orange-brown,” he explains. “Any very dark temporary tattoo should be treated with caution.”
If there is a list of ingredients, check for PPD and do not use the product if it contains this.
If in doubt, always stay away.