Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cultural Life(style): Mehndi - Can your traditions kill you?

As everyone knows, Mehndi has a role in most Indian rituals, festivals and ceremonies. Mehndi is primarily applied/ done with henna and what many people don't realise is that henna contains a small percentage of an agent called Lawsone, which is very bad news substance.

But just what is Lawsone? This is the question many of you are probably asking right now. Lawsone is "(2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone), also known as hennotannic acid, which is a red-orange dye that is present in the leaves of the henna plant" - source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Lawsone. Okay, so why is it important to know that henna contains a substance called Lawsone and why is this Lawsone substance dangerous anyway? Well the answer is quite simple, Lawsone is in fact linked to the production of cancer cells. Yes you read correctly, your Mehndi traditions can give you cancer!

I am sure most of you are shocked after reading the above since henna has always been seen as being a super safe product due to the fact that it is natural. It is just for this reason that people are not aware of the risks associated with it. In fact due to its risks, it is not only users of Mehndi tattoos that should be wary but everyone that dyes their hair with products containing henna as well.

So called black henna is especially dangerous to one's health because it is often just a normal, dangerous dye/chemical disguised and marketed as pure henna, even though it is not henna at all! This type of "henna" can cause severe skin burns which often result in horrid blisters and bad scarring.

Always make sure of the source of the henna products used on you to ensure that they are indeed real henna and natural. Then again since natural henna contains dangerous Lawsone, the best would be to avoid all henna products entirely for the sake of your own health. Safe alternatives do exist and included substances such as Jagua, which is a safe extract from a fruit known as Genipa Americana (source: https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Jagua_Tattoo). For an extensive list of other safe henna alternatives, just do an internet search regarding the topic.

To all those who read this article, please inform all your loved ones of the risks involved when it comes to using henna.

Keep safe



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