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What is a henna tattoo? Is it safe for my teen?

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Henna with Indian paisley on two hands
Olga Engelhardt for www.henna-und-mehr.de/Moment/Getty Images
Question: What is a henna tattoo? Is it safe for my teen?
Answer: Henna tattoos are non-permanent dying or staining on the top layer of skin using a henna paste product, the process is called Mehndi. They are basically safe for teens. The tattoos are generally an intricate design and brown in color. They will fade in time, about 2-4 weeks, depending on the type of henna that has been used and your teen's care of the area that was tattooed. It is close to impossible to remove except through the natural fading but, some believe you can speed up the fading by applying hydrogen peroxide to the area daily.

Mehndi is a popular type of skin adornment in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Somalia. The FDA has not yet approved henna for a skin dye in the United States, it is only approved as a form of hair dye. Therefore, you'll want to be sure that your teen will not have an allergic reactions to the dye by checking the skin with a small amount of the dye first.

Henna tattoos are being used as a compromise for some parents of teens who want real tattoos. If your teen wants a henna tattoo, they will not hurt her. Talk to your teen and set the limits. You can find a henna artist in your local area using this online database or purchase a henna kit at your local drug store or online at Henna Body Art. Also, henna tattoos cost money, bring up how your teen will earn it.

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