Temporary tattoos: what are they and what are their risks

Temporary tattoos are colorful and fun to wear on various occasions. However, they can have their risks. We tell you what they are.

Last update: 26 September, 2022

The fashion of temporary tattoos is part of the current trends to decorate the body with different elements. And there are several ways to do it.

Unlike the permanent temporary tattoos do not involve the use of needles or cause injuriesbut they are more superficial. For this reason, it might be thought that they do not carry risks or side effects. But it’s not like that.

Differences between temporary and permanent tattoos

Temporary tattoos are decorative designs, painted on the skin, using various types of inks, which only penetrate the most superficial layer. Although they can be just as colorful and striking.

They are so called because they last from a few days to a few weeks. Unlike those made with needles, in which the ink is injected into deeper layers of the skin to capture the design.

Among the main differences between one and another way of tattooing we have the following:

  • In general, the whole process with the temporary it’s easier, faster and less painful.
  • They do not require the care of permanent tattoos.
  • The fact that temporary tattoos do not remain on the skin is an advantage, since no procedure is required to remove them.
  • Additionally, the person can use it to test how it would look like with a certain design. Then, if you want, you can do it permanently.
  • For temporary ones you do not need to go to a professional artist. Even the person can do it alone at home.
  • Finally, the perm is usually much more expensiveboth in the initial investment and in subsequent care.
The permanent tattoo will last on the skin forever. The decision to do so must be well made.


Different types of temporary tattoos

Depending on the materials used, there are various types of temporary tattoos. First, they have decal ones; They are self-adhesive designs that come ready to place. Sometimes, you just have to moisten a little and that’s it.

Second, there are those made with natural inks. Kits can be purchased to make this type of temporary tattoos, including templates with generic motifs.

Finally, there are those of black henna, which are the most used, because the resulting color is intense. This dye comes from the plant Lawsonia inermiswhich has medicinal applications as well.

What to take into account to make a temporary tattoo?

It is advisable to always go to a professional. He will know how to do a better job, offering a variety of designs and advising to prevent problems from occurring.

But if you want to get the temporary tattoo at home, you can take into account the following recommendations:

  1. The first thing is choose the area where it is easier to work. If you’re going to do it on your back, you’ll need help.
  2. Remember that it is best to buy a natural ink.
  3. Apply a little to a small area of ​​skinto make sure it won’t cause a reaction.
  4. Then you must clean, wash and dry well, so that the ink is fixed. Shaving and even exfoliating is also recommended.
  5. Paste the template of the design you have chosen and follow the lines with the tool included in the kit.
  6. Try not to apply more ink from account.
  7. Wait for it to dry well before wetting that area. You can use talcum powder to help with this task. But avoid washing with harsh soaps if you want the tattoo to last a bit longer.
  8. You can apply Vaseline to protect the drawing.


Risks and side effects of temporary tattoos

While not using needles reduces the chances of infection, temporary tattoos they are not without risks, since they can still cause allergic reactions and other skin problems. This happens even with stickers, which are very popular with children.

In this regard, according to a study carried out by the University of Granada (UGR), these stickers can affect the function of the protective epidermal barrier. The research compared the dermatological effects of adhesive temporary tattoos and permanent tattoos. The decals are more harmful in terms of variables such as hydration of the stratum corneum and antioxidant capacity.

Although permanents have other risks, such as infection and healing problems, they do not cause such adverse skin effects. In fact, it is considered that tattooed and non-tattooed skin can perspire equally.

On the other hand, there have also been warnings about the risks of black henna for temporary tattoos. This ink, despite being of natural origin, has a high content of paraphenylenediaminea substance prohibited by the Health Council of the European Union.

Likewise, according to the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), black henna can cause severe allergic skin reactions and permanent sensitization.

However, all this can also happen with other inks, in which harmful substances (heavy metals and amines) have been found. Among the observed effects are the following:

  • Itch.
  • Blisters.
  • Suppuration.
  • redness
  • depigmentation

In particular, it is considered that children are more likely to experience such consequences. This is established by an investigation published by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP).

In children the risk is higher. These tattoos alter the skin barrier.

Precautionary measures to consider

Tattoos, whether temporary or permanent, are not without complications. Therefore, precautions must be taken before, during and after doing them.

It is opportune to remember that the skin of babies and children in general is not like that of adults, but can be more delicate. So this is not to be taken lightly.

On the other hand, before getting a tattoo of any kind, you should seek information about the possible risks and, above all, know if you are allergic to henna or any component of the ink. Preferably, opt for products such as natural henna or inks without toxic chemicals.

Also, if you do not do it at home, go to places that maintain adequate hygiene conditions. Certify that the site is enabled by a competent body in your geographical area.

You might be interested…