– There is no such thing as black henna. It is a strong PPD allergen, banned in the European Union, the use of which can even lead to anaphylactic shock – explains Ilona Dembowska, who has been painting patterns on the skin with natural henna for eight years. We explain what henna looks and smells like and what color it has when applied to the skin.
- Henna is a powder obtained from the leaves and shoots of defenseless lawsonia, on the basis of which a skin-coloring paste is created.
- It is the oldest cosmetic that has been used since ancient times
- Natural henna colors the epidermis red or brown
- “Black henna” can strongly sensitize, lead to infection, in extreme cases even to anaphylactic shock
- More such stories can be found on the main page of Onet.pl
Black pseudohenna tattoo. Infection, scarring and even sepsis
10-year-old Caden Humphreys was with his family on vacation in Turkey. On the last day, his mother agreed to have a dragon henna painted on his forearm. Two weeks later, blisters filled with yellow liquid appeared at the site of the tattoo and then began to burst. Caden’s mom started searching the Internet for information about popular “black henna” tattoos and realized the dangers to which she could unknowingly expose her child.
“The dye was rinsed off the skin an hour after the pattern was applied. Everything was fine and we flew home. 12 days later my son’s skin started to itch, there was a rough feel at the tattoo site. We removed the pattern with a make-up remover. We thought it was nothing. and that only a slight trace would remain, but then his condition began to deteriorate. The skin at the tattoo site became inflamed, reddened and painful, and then it was only worse. It became infected “- says the boy’s mother.
Caden’s doctor prescribed steroids and antibiotics. Only after a month did the skin return to normal. Although the infection has passed, tattoo scars are still visible on the skin.
Henna tattoos are extremely popular. In summer, you can easily make them at the Polish seaside or in a foreign resort. Usually they are not expensive, so parents willingly give them to their children. The sophisticated patterns painted on the skin look tempting, but before you decide to get such a tattoo, check that the dye you are applying is natural and safe. It is not known how many people end their vacation with burns and infections caused by toxic substances contained in the so-called “black henna”. What to look for when choosing a fashionable skin painting?
Natural henna vs. “black pseudohenna”
– There is no legal definition that would make it clear what henna is. Products that are called henna will be both hair dye cosmetics, eyebrow and eyelash dyes, and herbs – explains Ilona Dembowska, who has been painting henna patterns for eight years. – Real henna should only be called the powder obtained from defenseless lawsonia, i.e. a plant in which there is a dye that has been used for centuries, which, when mixed with water, lemon and essential oils, turns into a paste, which dyes the skin. Lawson, a substance obtained from defenseless lawsonia, will only be able to color the skin for a few days, because the paste made of it is completely natural.
On the left, a pattern made with henna, on the right, PPD, or “black pseudohenna”
Photo: Private Archive
What color is natural henna?
The paste first colors the skin orange, then it gradually changes color to brown. There is no such thing as black henna. It is a strong PPD (paraphenylenediamine) allergen which is banned in the European Union. It can be very dangerous and even potentially fatal for those who are allergic.
What should we pay attention to before deciding on a henna tattoo?
Besides the color, the smell is also important. Natural henna smells beautiful. The painter should tell us the composition of the paste that will be applied to the skin. If the henna is black and it stinks, we can be sure that we are dealing with PPD.
At the beginning, a drawing made with natural henna is orange
Photo: Private Archive
After drying, the henna paste should remain on the skin min. a few hours – preferably around 8-12 hours. Then you can scratch it off and the pattern oxidizes to its final color.
Then the pattern oxidizes to bronze
Photo: Private Archive
What can happen when our skin is covered with “black henna” instead of natural henna?
Maybe nothing will happen if we’re lucky. I had the “black henna” pattern applied twice. Once in Italy, when you painted a black kitten for me, and the second time in Malta. At the time, neither my parents nor I had any idea that it was not natural henna.
However, I have heard of cases when people who had the formula made with PPD had an anaphylactic shock. Scars may also remain on the skin. It is worth emphasizing that PPD, which is found in eyebrow tinting products, may only cause allergies one time.
See the “black henna” stand? React!
– In the European Union, PPD cannot be applied to the skin. If we see a stand with black patterns and we know that someone is using PPD-based substances, we should notify the relevant services, e.g. sanepid – explains Ilona. – It is worth noting that in cosmetics imported from India or China, the concentration of PPD can be up to 30 times higher than provided for by European standards. If someone buys such a product on Aliexpress, he must take into account a considerable risk.
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