How to Remove A Henna Tattoo
Henna tattoos are not permanent but they can, however, last quite a long time. Removing henna tattoos is not an easy process, although it can be achieved with the help of a few everyday items and some “elbow grease.” Let’s dive into the details now and see how you can remove it yourself.
Henna tattooing is a traditional form of body art throughout Muslim and Hindu countries. It’s made from the dye of a plant, called Lawsonia inermis. Henna tattoos used to be a temporary souvenir of tourists visiting the East, but are now popular all over the world. It's highly pigmented and typically has a beautiful dark red-brown color. This dye captivates many, with its amazing designs and interesting techniques.
How Long Do Henna Tattoos Last on Average?
On average, the henna tattoo should last you for approximately two to three weeks before it begins to fade. Keep in mind that this works in a similar fashion to semi-permanent hair dye. The tattoo usually starts out with an intense, deep color. It then slowly erodes as it’s exposed to different elements.
The longevity of a henna tattoo depends on a few factors. The location of the tattoo plays a large role in how long it will last—areas that are often exposed to water and soap will fade quicker. These include feet, ankles, hands, and arms. Sun exposure is another factor to consider.
Peeling of the skin also plays an important role in determining how long the henna will last. For those that are prone to dry skin, the dead skin that falls off with washing will, unfortunately, take some of the henna dye with it.
In some countries, black henna is often used instead of the natural versions. It is even used by henna artists in the U.S., despite all the warnings about its illegal ingredient, p-phenylenediamine (PPD).
As dangerous as black henna can be, many people disregard this and still go ahead and get the tattoo. These generally don't last as long as the natural henna varieties.
Black henna tattoos will last anywhere between seven and 21 days on average. With that being said, most people notice the tattoo is completed faded within two weeks.
Removing henna tattoos is possible but isn’t a quick process. You can use natural ingredients usually found in your kitchen and bathroom. It takes time, however, and you will need to repeat the process several times. I highly recommend using an exfoliating scrub, as this is one of the most effective methods. Make sure you moisturize the skin afterwards. Always remember—patience is a virtue.
How to Remove Henna Tattoos Safely
While there are no particular henna removal products available, that doesn't mean you will have to wait a long time to get rid of your tattoo. Many natural ingredients and methods will safely remove the tattoo, or at least help it to fade quicker. Most components are found at home in your pantry, so let's look at some of them.
Lemon is nature's bleach. This sour citrus fruit can work wonders with an unwanted henna tattoo. Simply cut the lemon in half and rub it gently on the area of the tattoo. It should lighten the henna immediately. Depending on the area and the skin, it can take a little while to remove the henna completely. However, if you keep repeating the process, it will accelerate the effect.
Salt water is a treat at any day spa. Even floating around in the salty ocean can leave your skin feeling refreshed. It works great as a natural exfoliator, as it will slowly get rid of dead skin, leaving skin silky smooth. This process will take time, but it can be accelerated by following up with one of the methods below.
You will need a large mixing bowl, filled with warm water and a substantial amount of salt—around one-fourth of a cup. Epsom salt, sea salt or table salt can be used. Give it a good stir until the salt dissolves. Once there are no remnants left, soak your tattoo for approximately 20 minutes.
This method can become a little inconvenient, however. If the tattoo happens to be in an area which doesn't fit in a bowl with ease, you might need to fill your tub and soak your whole body. On the upside, you’ll be much more relaxed afterwards, with very soft skin all over.
Antibacterial soaps will slowly remove the henna particles from the skin but, again, not all at once. While this method can remove the henna over time, it is not a quick fix.
You will need to wash the area often, and slightly aggressively, before the result is achieved. If you choose to try this method, remember to use a heavy-duty moisturizer after washing. Harsh soaps are known for drying out the skin—you don’t want any added irritation while you’re at it.
Using an exfoliating scrub is yet another method for removing your unwanted tattoo. The scrub will get rid of dead skin and encourage the growth of new skin, which will have your henna fading quickly.
You can make your own exfoliant, by mixing equal parts of sugar, honey, lemon, and olive oil. This mix will not only help to remove the tattoo, but it will also leave your skin feeling soft and looking refined. Always remember to treat your skin with moisturizer or coconut oil after exfoliating.
What Not to Do
Some people recommend using bleach products to get rid of the henna. However, this is not solid advice. It is common knowledge that bleach can cause major irritation to the skin and the airways. You could quite possibly end up with burns and blisters.
Chlorine is, unfortunately, another item that has been referenced for removing henna. Chlorine is toxic and can leave you with the same effects as bleach.
Other products to avoid are toothpaste and baking soda, which some people recommend. They can be effective, but are likely to increase skin irritation.
If you want an interesting design, but don't want to commit to a full-time tattoo, a henna is a good alternative. This pigmented dye will last you a few weeks, although you may want to get rid of it before it starts to fade and appear dull.