THERE IS NO BLACK HENNA! No matter what anyone says! Here is why.
The PPD chemical (Para-phenylenediamine) or Black henna phenomenon has harmed people for years now all around the world. This is a problem that plagues reputable henna artists everywhere.
If you are a beginning artist, or a consumer, don't let the reports scare you. An educated consumer is a smart consumer, and no one likes to be a sucker! Ask what is in the paste they are using! It's your right to know! Some vendors will put gasoline or turpentine in the paste as well as other toxins in an effort to make it darker. These are VERY harmful to the skin and you should think about smelling the paste before application as well if you're suspicious. PPD is the largest danger, but not the only one.
The use of this substance is now banned in Canada but other parts of the world are not so lucky. Be careful of this hidden danger while traveling and don't become a victim. The USA and Mexico as well as many countries overseas are still abusing this chemical and their clients. Many studies have been done and I won't retype them here. You will find several links below. One is to The Hennapage.com. The latest information can be found there. Please be warned some pictures are very graphic. The other link regards the Canadian health warning and the list of numbers and email addresses to report someone using 'black henna'.
Remember, henna is never black, has no smell or is chemical smelling. It SHOULD smell like a combination of cut grass or hay and essential oils like lavendar and eucalyptus.
This substance has been spotted at certain festivals even here in Winnipeg, and they have attempted to get around the law and confrontation by making unfortunate people sign a waiver. These waivers are meaningless and are not legal. They are trying to convince you that you have signed away any recourse if/when your health or skin is damaged. Please report any festival or vendor using this toxic substance to Health Canada at the link below!
Make sure that the festival organizer knows this is unacceptable to you. There have now been reports of a vendor using BROWN PPD in Winnipeg. Henna is never brown immediately after paste removal!!
Often I am asked WHY someone would use the chemical when they know it can hurt someone. Because it is cheap and easy. Real henna must be kept carefully and can be pricier in comparison to the chemical which is cheap and easy to use requiring no skill. Sometimes they just don't know any better and someone told them it was harmless.
Another question that I've heard was answered so well on HP, I asked if I could quote it here. Posted by dawnrene on 09/02/2006 10:11 AM (in part):
"I've really been thinking about this lately because my oldest daughter has been using black hair dye since she was in high school. She is starting to become allergic to things that she wasn't before. Eating a peach a couple of weeks ago, sent her to the emergency room.Why does the FDA allow PPD in hair dye when it causes such horrific injuries on other parts of the body?"
And the great layman's response was posted by HennaPage_Staff on 09/02/2006 12:56 PM:
"The full answer to your question would take more time and space than we have here, but the simple answer is that the federal regulations permitting PPD for use in hair dyes were drawn up several decades ago when the risks of PPD exposure were less well understood than they are today. PPD was actually considered a safe substitute for other chemicals used in commercial hair dyes early in the last century.
PPD made it possible for the cosmetics industry to produce easy-to-use hair dyes for salon and home use and by the time the potential problems of long-term exposure to PPD became better known, those products had become the backbone of an enormous worldwide industry, so banishing PPD will be economically and legally complex and difficult to accomplish."
Hasina Mehndi & Body Art is dedicated to public safety and public awareness of the art of henna / mehndi. If your school or library would like to have a class on henna tattooing , please refer to the contact page or to any email button located on every page for special pricing. Please type "henna education" in the subject line. Click here to head to the 'contact' page!
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