Black henna?

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baja4
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Joined: 2010-07-11 16:48
Black henna?

Hey! I still don't understand what really is "black henna". On the internet are many information about black henna which is dangerous and can't be use... But everywhere around me (near to swimming pools, on summer festivals, in hotels,...) somebody does tattoo which calls henna and it seems black. This tatoo isn't dangerous. So is this really henna? And which black henna is dangerous? Just the one which is called "henna for dying hair"?

And what about this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=400130225369&ssPageName=ADME:L:OU:US:1123

I was thinking about buying it. So is this product dangerous?

Thanks for your answeres. I'm really confused...

CCartwrightJones
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Joined: 2010-04-27 18:23
Re: Black henna?

Para-phenylenediamine is the chemical used to make fast black stains on skin, marketed as "black henna".  Of all those people you see with fast black stains at beaches, boardwalks, and such .... about 15% of them will have blisters and vicious allergic reactions within 10 days. The people applying the product will become sensitized, and will have an elevated risk of bladder cancer, and skin problems the rest of their lives.  Para-phenylenediamine is one of the most toxic chemicals we have and its easily available.  

I'm doing my PhD dissertation on the subject, so yes, I know what I'm talking about.

THe reason this has proliferated in vacation areas is that the injuries don't appear until 3 to 10 days after the application, when the people have gone home from vacation.  Its a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.

Some people can have "black henna" several times before they have a reaction.  Everyone who does repeat applications will eventually become sensitized.  If a person has has a "black henna" on vacation, its not unusual that if they dye their hair with chemical dyes in the future, they will suddenly have a full onset reaction that lands them in the hospital with a trach tube down their throat because their head has swollen up so much they can't breathe.

Lancet (British medical journal) has deemed this an epidemic, and its impacting the whole hair dye industry.

"Black henna" for hair may be indigo, or it may be henna mixed with PPD.  You'd have to examine the powder to see.  THe tube you see on Ebay almost certainly has para-phenylenediamine and you've got a significant change of having a scar for life if you use that.

Why do people think the stuff is safe?  Why do people drive without seatbelts?  Why do people have unprotected sex with an untested partner?  Why do people ride a motorcycle up the freeway with no protective clothing? Why do people buy things they know they can't afford  Why do people drive when drunk?  Because our species is really, really good at denial!

Nicole
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Joined: 2010-07-02 02:30
Re: Black henna?

I tried to explain the dangers of black henna to my husband who replies with, "some people are allergic, but not our people" ("our people" being Yemenis, Somalis, Ethiopians).  These people get it done all the time, I've seen it applied many times in person, and seen it in photos at weddings and stuff.  My mother-in-law for example does it every wedding she goes to which can be several times a year.  None of these people have scars or anything of the sort.

Also, I asked my doctor about it a couple of years ago, and he told me the same thing, that a small percentage of people will have a reaction, and to see if you are one of those people, do a small dot on your skin, and cover it with a bandage, if it starts turning red at all, wash it right away, and stay away from it, but if you're fine after a day or two, then you aren't allergic.

Can you please explain this?  Personally, I would never use it, or tell anyone to use it, because why take the risk?  Is it possible for your body to get used to it if you start at a very young age?  Or maybe people with darker skin have a higher tolerance?  I just want to understand this more, so I can explain it to people for whom it's a part of their tradition.

Thanks!

Jen
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Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Black henna?

I'm terribly disappointed to hear that your doctor gave you the same explanation! Here's the story. The allergy to this chemical isn't a typical allergy. Its a sensitizing chemical which means that with each exposure to the stuff your risk of reaction increases. Women who have it done often or use it for a living will be far more likely to eventually become allergic. And this isn't a no-big-deal reaction! Sensitivity to a whole catalog of related chemicals, possible scaring, and even worse. And no, darker skin does not have a higher tolerance!

There is a population of Somali women in my city, and they always want black too. They like the dark outline, with natural henna.

They tell me that natural henna won't work on them. This is garbage! Henna adds to pigment in the skin so it will get darker on darker skinned women than it does on me, your typical white-girl. I often see beautiful shades of mahogany or even eggplant on dark women! You just need well made paste from high quality henna to start with. 

The Somali women also tell me that the black henna doesn't hurt them. Its their tradition. They've always done it. They just aren't alergic to it. Well, first of all it just doens't work that way, like I said above. Second, this is a chemical that hasn't "always" been around, at least not nearly as long as henna. Adding ppd is an after thought -a short cut, and certainly not a part of the original tradition.

You can still get the two-toned look that is so popular in that part of the world without the black. It just takes a little more work. You do it in two applications. You do the design with the darker outlines first. After removing the paste, do a short application, for 5-10 minutes, in the areas that are meant to be lighter.

I admire you for going against those around you to keep yourself and others safe!

Nicole
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Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: 2010-07-02 02:30
Re: Black henna?

Well my doctor is from South Africa, and said that they do it over there.  I understand that it's not a typical allergy, but then how to you explain people who use it their whole lives, and never have a reaction?  Is it possible that it's not PPD?  They usually call it khidab.  (Sorry, I'm not trying to contradict you or say you are wrong, I'm just really trying to understand this, and find a way that I can explain it, because those Somali ladies can be pushy if they really want something!)

I still remember the first time I saw the "black henna" everyone was encouraging me to get some done, and I had just learned about the dangers on Henna Page, if it had been a few months earlier, I probably would have done it!  Scary...

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