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About Body Paints
Modern water-based face and body paints are made according to stringent guidelines, meaning these are non-toxic, usually non-allergenic, and can easily be washed away. Temporary staining may develop after use, but it will fade after normal washing. These are either applied with hands, paintbrush, and synthetic sponges or natural sea sponge, or alternatively with an airbrush.
Contrary to the popular myth perpetuated by the James Bond film Goldfinger, a person is not asphyxiated if their whole body is painted.
Liquid latex may also be used as body paint. Aside from the risk of contact allergy, wearing latex for a prolonged period may cause heat stroke by inhibiting perspiration and care should be taken to avoid the painful removal of hair when the latex is pulled off.
The same precautions that apply to cosmetics should be observed. If the skin shows any sign of allergy from a paint, its use should immediately be stopped. Moreover, it should not be applied to damaged, inflamed or sensitive skin. If possible, a test for allergic reaction should be performed before use. Special care should be paid to the list of ingredients, as certain dyes are not approved by the US FDA for use around the eye area or on lips. Any paints or products which have not been formulated for use on the body should never be used for body or face painting, as these can result in serious allergic reactions.
As for Mehndi, natural brown henna dyes are safe to use when mixed with ingredients such as lemon juice. However, a commonly marketed product called “black henna”, is not safe to use because the product has been made by mixing natural henna with synthetic black dyes containing PPD, which can cause serious skin allergies, and should be avoided due to the substantial risk of serious injury. Another option is Jagua, a dark indigo plant-based dye that is safe to use on the skin and is approved for cosmetic use in the EU.