Henna Freckles Gone Wrong: Why It Happens & What Can You Do?

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on April 18, 2023

Henna is an easy and popular way to get cute freckles, but it’s not without its risks. Learn all about henna freckles gone wrong and how to deal with them.

henna freckles gone wrong

Image source: Freepik

For those who love the freckle look, but don’t want to commit to a facial micropigmentation treatment, henna freckles are the perfect middle ground. You get the tattoo freckles effect, but it lasts a shorter time, so it’s less of a risk if you change your mind or don’t like the result.

But even if they’re not permanent, how can you deal with henna freckles gone wrong? Well, it depends on what exactly went wrong. PMUHub put together this handy guide for handling bad henna freckles. Let’s get right to it!

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Do Henna Freckles Come With Risks?

Henna is one of the safest cosmetic treatments out there, and the only serious risk to consider is the chance of having an allergic reaction.

This can happen because some types of henna contain a substance called Paraphenylenediamine (commonly listed as PPD). PPD is also often found in hair dyes, makeup pigments, and tattoo inks, and some people are very sensitive or outright allergic to it.

Even if your particular henna product doesn’t list PPD among its ingredients, you should still make sure that you’re not allergic to it anyway.

An allergy to henna can manifest itself as one or more of the following symptoms in the exposed area:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Rashes
  • Flaking

Fortunately, it’s very easy to avoid: just do a patch test. You should definitely do one if you decide to DIY your henna freckles, and you should also insist on it if you decide to get them done at a salon.

Here’s a rundown of how patch testing for henna works:

Choose a spot for the test – either behind your ear or on your inner arm, in the crease of the elbow. Each spot has its pros and cons.

Behind the ear is subtle, so you won’t have to deal with curious looks if you do have a reaction. However, it could be more difficult for you to see what’s going on back there.

The elbow crease is readily visible, but also sweats more and is exposed to friction from skin and clothes. That could cause some irritation or redness regardless of the allergy test, so you might end up with inconclusive results.

In either spot, leave the henna in place for a full 48 hours. If there’s no reaction, you can go ahead with your henna freckles plan.


Remember to never use black henna for your faux freckles. That type is meant for use on the hair and isn’t safe for the skin. In fact, the FDA has deemed using black henna products on the skin illegal.

What Is Considered a Case of Bad Henna Freckles?

Henna freckles gone wrong can mean a handful of things. They could just turn out not as pretty as you’d hoped. They could also end up looking unnatural.

In extremely bad cases, you could end up with something that looks like hyperpigmentation – and, of course, the worst-case scenario is an allergic reaction. Let’s take a closer look at each of those scenarios:

Unattractive Freckles

First off, unattractive henna freckles are mostly a matter of personal taste. You applied your henna with some image in your head, and they don’t match. It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself to avoid that kind of disappointment.

Remember that everybody’s facial structure is different. We all have unique features and unique skin types, so two people who applied their henna in the same manner may end up with two different results.

Furthermore, if you go overboard around your nose and cheeks, or leave the henna on for too long, you could end up with a result that’s way too intense. Your freckles might turn out like a hyperpigmentation issue, e.g. melasma.

Unnatural Coloring

Next, the issue of unnatural freckles usually comes from tint and distribution. Henna can appear as red, orange, brown, black, blue, or even green on the skin, and not all those hues are suitable for faux freckles.

As we already mentioned, you should stay away from black because of the PPD – the same holds true for blue hennas. Out of the remaining tints, browns are the best choice for most freckle tattoos, because they look the most natural against most skin tones.

However, even brown henna can turn out too orange, too red, or too cold if you’re not careful. Take your time in selecting the shade that best suits your natural complexion, and always take your natural undertones into consideration.

Unnatural distribution

As far as distribution is concerned, remember that natural freckles are never perfectly symmetrical. Your faux tattoo should be slightly messy and unevenly spread out. Also, remember that freckles occur outside the nose and cheek area.

While the mask look is the most popular on social media, naturally freckled people get little spots on their forehead, eyelids, chin, neck, and even on the ears. So don’t be tempted to cram them all into one zone.

Allergic Reactions

Finally, there’s the problem of allergies, which we already mentioned. If your henna has any added dyes (as is the case with black henna), it can be a source of contact allergens. Just how badly your skin reacts will depend on the severity of your allergy, the concentration of the allergens, and the duration of exposure.

Most allergic reactions cause only redness, some swelling, and itching or irritation. However, severe cases could manifest as inflammation, oozing, and pain in the exposed area.

@takwalarsen I will never try this henna freckles again 🤢👎🏻 #hennafreckles #gonewrong #ohno #fyp ♬ Oh No - Kreepa

What Can You Do About Fake Freckles Gone Wrong?

Fortunately, henna is a topical agent, so if your freckles turn out less than ideal, you have some options.

First off, you can just wait for them to fade away. Henna freckles last for about 7 days, so if you’re not happy with them, a little bit of patience might be all you need (and optionally your best concealer).

If you really can’t wait to get rid of your bad henna freckles, though, you could try a few at-home removal tricks. Keep in mind that everybody’s skin is different, so you may have to test a few methods until you find one that works well for you.

Some commonly recommended methods of removing henna from your skin include:

  • Washing your face with an exfoliating scrub
  • Gently rubbing the freckles with a mixture of olive oil and salt
  • Washing your face with antibacterial soap (be careful not to dry out your skin too much)
  • Applying whitening toothpaste, then scrubbing it off when it dries
  • Saturating the freckles with a silicone-based makeup remover
  • Soaking the skin of your face in micellar water
  • Gently scrubbing the freckles with rubbing alcohol (careful: it can badly dry out your skin)
  • Going for a swim in a chlorinated pool for about an hour

If none of these methods work, or you’re not happy with their effect, and you still don’t want to wait, consider looking for professional help.

Contact a permanent makeup artist who specializes in faux freckles. They might be able to recommend some better removal methods. You can also opt to ask for advice from your dermatologist.

Henna Freckles Gone Wrong – Main Takeaways

Henna is a popular and generally safe cosmetic treatment, and henna freckles can look great when done right. But if you find yourself in a situation of bad henna freckles, don’t panic.

You can always wait out the week that they approximately stay for. If you’re really unhappy with the result, there are several at-home removal options you can try, and you can always consult a permanent makeup artist or dermatologist for expert advice.

The most important thing is to be careful about potential allergic reactions. Always do a patch test, and remember to stay away from black henna products. Choose organic brown henna that’s natural and gentler on your skin.



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