FDA warns consumers about dangers of temporary tattoos

by  |  published on March 27, 2013

Spring break is around the corner, as is summer vacation, which means you may be thinking of getting a temporary tattoo. After all, it’s temporary, so it’s harmless, right?

Not so fast. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a new health warning, asserting that temporary tattoos may pose some health risks.

Temporary tattoos can last anywhere from three days to several weeks. Although they aren’t injected into the skin, they do come with some risks, said Dr. Linda Katz, director of the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors.

Katz said consumers are still at risk for allergic reactions, which can be severe and can last even longer than the tattoo itself.

MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program, has received many reports of serious, long-lasting reactions that consumers did not expect when they first got the temporary tattoo. Problems include redness, blisters, raised red weeping lesions, loss of skin pigmentation, increased sensitivity to sunlight and even permanent scarring.

The FDA said some consumers had to seek medical attention after getting one of the tattoos, including trips to the emergency room. Sometimes these trips occurred right after the tattoo was placed on the skin, and sometimes they occurred weeks after the event.

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