Every month, without fail my grandmother makes a recipe. It involves roasting some cloves, boiling some coffee, taking some curd and mixing it all in with her henna powder. She does this for her hair, of course. By the end of it, her hair is shiny and has a lovely red tinge. She never buys premade henna. Black henna is a complete no no. Why? The dreaded chemicals. The chemicals that can result in a lifelong problem with allergies ia the reason my grandmother stays away from anything pre-made and artificial.
What Are The Chemicals In Henna?
Henna in its pure form is very good for hair. This is because it moisturizes hair, nourishes it and always creates a protective coating shielding hair from the harsh rays of the sun. All these qualities are present in the natural henna. But store bought, pre-made henna is the perfect recipe for disaster.
If you are in the habit of using black henna, you could be in trouble. Black henna contains an added chemical called para-phenylenediamine, also known as PPD. This chemical makes henna last longer and dry faster. Sometimes we use it without even knowing it. Most of the brands available in the market are known to contain this agent.
Henna tattoos and mehendi labeled with the tag of “special formulas”, contain PPD. PPD is the special formula behind the increased pigmentation and luster. But when the henna starts fading, skin peeling begins. This is the beginning of skin woes.
PPD can cause painful blisters and allergic reactions. The blisters are extremely painful. They can be itchy and might also result in creation of pus, with the allergy symptoms of rashes too. With all this information known to the manufacturers, the dreaded PPD is still found in many henna hair colors and mehendis. It might as well be present in the henna from your local beauty store and you might not even know about it! Added to that fact, the concentration of PPD is ten times more than what is allowed. You are exposing yourself to ten times more damage.
Like how every problem has a solution, the blisters heal and scars fade. The effect of PPD doesn’t end there. The allergies themselves aren’t always dangerous, although they have the potential to cause permanent darkening of the skin and scars. Skin peeling results in tender, extremely sensitive skin. It will take weeks of intense care and medication to be relieved of it. Once you have a bad reaction to this chemical, your body starts treating it like an allergen all the time, no matter what the concentration. Your body will reject PPD and the immune system will be against its presence in your body. You can become permanently allergic to PPD and its chemical relatives. PPD is found in certain anesthetics and medications for heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Imagine the horror of it when your medication is treated like an allergen by your body.
Though PPD doesn’t affect everybody, there is a fair chance of it harming you. Choose wisely and stay away from the flashy temptations of “instant henna” and “long lasting color”. Try and avoid street side henna stalls, you can’t trust them like trusting pure henna. Don’t use “black henna” for hair at any cost. If you want to, make your own herbal concoctions like my dear old dadi does. There are many step by step instructions available on the Internet, use them and stay safe.
It’s always better to be safe than be sorry.
Avoid and prevent. Do you agree? Do share your thoughts with us!