Stay Away from Black Henna
Black 'henna' is not natural and can be found being used at tourist spots and even your local mall.
Black hair dye contains the same main ingredient as black henna: paraphenylenediamine, or PPD. It is a toxin, present in instant hair dyes at a 6% concentration. Every box of hair dye comes with a pair of plastic gloves, because you have to protect direct contact to skin. Hair dye boxes come with precautions and warnings not to apply directly to the scalp and to wash off the dye after 5 -10 minutes.
Black "henna" contains PPD (coal tar) and benzene (an ingredient found in gasoline and paint solvents) which seep into your bloodstream. While in hair dyes, PPD is at 6%. When used as "henna" it is at a whopping concentration of 50-70% or more! Heavily concentrated PPD is left on your skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream for an hour.
The allergic reaction that PPD can cause is similar to an allergy to bee stings. A PPD allergy can develop at ANY time once you are sensitized to it, but may not show up for weeks, months, or even years. Every time you come into contact with PPD, the allergy will worsen. You will be sensitized to PPD for the rest of your life. You will never be able to use a hair dye or other commercial products containing PPD ever again.
A PPD reaction can include itching, a rash, full body hives, severe blistering, permanent scarring, liver damage, and life-threatening breathing problems. (To see images of 'black henna' burns and scars click here)
If you have had a black henna tattoo, do NOT dye your hair with a synthetic hair dye without getting checked for an allergy to PPD.
Once sensitized, you can become cross-sensitive to other PPD-like additives that include:
~ Black clothing dye (imagine not being able to wear black for the rest of your life!)
~ Black rubber
~ Pen ink
~ Some food colorings and preservatives
~ Some prescription and over-the counter medications
~ Sunscreen (PABA)
How do you know if henna is safe for use?
If you are getting henna put on you at a festival, fair, amusement park, vacation destination, or henna party, ask the artist the following questions:
What color will my henna tattoo be?
If the answer is black, the henna contains PPD. Do not just walk away - RUN!
May I see a list of ingredients in your henna?
Check for any chemicals or any other ingredients that may trigger an allergy. Mixing henna is not a secret. Any good henna artist will be willing to tell you what is in theirhenna paste. If your henna artist is unable to provide you with a list of ingredients, it is wise to stay away from such henna.
Natural henna paste contains fresh henna powder, lemon juice and 100% pure pharmaceutical grade essential oils like Lavender, Cajeput, Tea-Tree; no chemicals, no artificial dyes, no preservatives.
Always make sure that whenever you get henna body art done, your artist can provide you with the ingredients in their henna paste... natural henna is beautiful, safe, and temporary, and can be a great experience when you get it done by a reputable henna artist! Stay safe, say NO to black 'henna'.