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Why Are Temporary Tattoos Dangerous? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to the latest edition of The Why.

Everywhere you look the media is pushing you telling you who to follow, what to watch and when to watch it.   You’re even sometimes told how to do it all.  Truth is, here at American Live Wire we do a bit of that too.  The big difference is we also tell you why.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

“Why are temporary tattoos dangerous?” you ask?

Good question.  First, let’s specify what is meant by temporary tattoos. Bhakti Petigara Harp, a chemist in the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, said there are numerous temporary tattoos available. There are the wet-and-press tattoos found in Crackerjacks boxes and bubble gum machines. There are also different types of temporary tattoos that utilize “plant-based and synthetic dyes.”

Now that we’re on the same page, why are temporary tattoos dangerous? Short answer: Temporary tattoos are dangerous because they are not directly regulated by the FDA Food and Drug Administration. The FDA only regulates the dyes added to them.

temporary tattoos danger

Temporary Tattoos / Image: TattooFans

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous? One reason they are dangerous is because someone people have allergic reactions to them. Some are significant enough to warrant the involvement of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous? The jury is still out actually. The FDA doesn’t have all the facts, which is why Katherine Hollinger, an epidemiologist with the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors, stated that they are requesting that people report any issues with the tattoos.  That’s one reason why they held a seminar a few days ago on their website.

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous? The FDA days that temporary tattoos are not “risk free”. Since they can’t at present report the specific number of adverse reactions reported each year.

Since only the ink and color additives in general have to go through the FDA they don’t even have information on the number of peoples who use temporary tattoos. They merely receive “voluntary reports on problems”.  When asked for some statistics Hollinger said she is only authorized to release the data through an official FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous? One type of temporary tattoo uses henna which is a paste made out of dried lawsonia plant leaves.  Some henna also contains PPD (p-phenylenediamine) which is a hair dye ingredient. Neither of these is FDA-approved for use on human skin.

temporary tattoos dangerous

Temporary Tattoo / Image: Ebay

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous? Some dyes are too new and untested. The dye called jaguar comes from the fruit of the Genipa americana, a South American tree. While the indigenous folks have used it for body decorations for some time the FDA has no reliable research to consider as jaguar is new to the US.

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous?  The FDA has reported that reactions to any of these dyes may include blisters and rashes. Long-term effects are listed as increased sensitivity to sunlight, scarring and “skin changes.” (FDA officials also added that real tattoos may have risks as well including infection due to contaminated ink and allergic reactions to tattoo ink.)

Why are temporary tattoos dangerous? Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

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About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.