Many visitors to Bali can't resist the temptation of obtaining a temporary tattoo, guaranteed to last a week or two by the tattoo artists who proliferate in every tourist area of the island.
Originating from India, the art of temporary tattoo, or Mehdhi, involves the application of natural hennotannic acid (derived from henna) to the dead skin cells of the epidermis. Applied by a skilled and knowledgeable artist using pure, natural henna components, a temporary tattoo should be perfectly safe, providing transitory enjoyment to those thus adorned.
Unfortunately, many tattoo artists are using tattoo dyes that include a toxic dye called para-phenylenediamine or PPD. Promoted as black henna, when, in fact, pure henna is never black, these tattoo artists are drawn by the greater ease of application afforded by the PPD based products, often unaware of the severe health consequences to themselves and their customers that may only become evident weeks after a holiday has ended.
You should be. Especially if you or a family member are considering a temporary tattoo as part of your coming holidays.
Dr. Paul Vandewalle of International SOS has written a timely article detailing the dangers of temporary tattooing using impure henna compounds with hints on how to tell the difference.
Through the kind permission of expat.or.id, a Jakarta-based website containing information of value to expatriates living in Indonesia, balidiscovery.com is pleased to provide a link to Dr. Vandewalle's article.
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