Is there danger of lead and PPD contamination of purple and black henna?
The “average adult uses nine personal care products each day, with 126 unique chemical ingredients.” We used to assume that something utilized to the pores and skin would “always remain on the surface of the body,” and the one factor you needed to fear about had been issues like native pores and skin irritation. But, over latest a long time, “it was recognized that some topically applied substances can penetrate into or through human skin” and find yourself circulating all through our our bodies.
Take the poisonous heavy metallic lead (Pb), for instance. As you’ll be able to see within the graph under and at 0:38 in my video Is Henna Safe?, to see if lead might be absorbed by the pores and skin into the physique, researchers utilized result in a topic’s left arm after which measured the extent of lead within the sweat coming off their proper arm over the following few days. They noticed a giant spike, proving practically 30 years in the past that “lead can be absorbed through skin and rapidly distributed throughout the body.”
This led public well being authorities “to recommend that parents avoid using cosmetics on their children that could be contaminated with Pb.” Which cosmetics may these be? Because it’s a pure constituent of many shade pigments, lead has been present in a variety of beauty merchandise—from eye liner and lip gloss to hair cream and nail polish, as you’ll be able to see under and at 1:07 in my video. The FDA has set an higher restrict for lead at 20 elements per million. Though just some samples of henna exceeded this higher restrict, as a result of henna is “used for hair treatment, as a substitute for chemical hair dyes and also for temporary tattoos, these quantities of Pb that remain on the skin or hair for a long time cannot be safe.” Indeed, research counsel that lead “may have no identifiable safe exposure level, with even the lowest levels shown to affect the fetus and the central nervous system in children.” “Thus, the use of henna especially among children may constitute a public health risk.” So, “increasing awareness of henna’s serious toxic implications seems to be the only reliable means of ending or at least reducing the use of such hazardous material especially when children are involved.”
Traditionally, henna was simply the dried powdered leaves of a plant. More not too long ago, although, different substances have been added to present it a stronger shade, comparable to lead, mentioned to be “one of the most common and egregious additives in henna.” But, lead is just not as widespread as paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a coal tar by-product.
“The red paste traditionally used, known as ‘red henna,’ rarely produces adverse effects,” however to realize a darker pigment, generally known as “black henna,” varied components could also be used, together with “animal urine.” Better pee than PPD, although, “a coal-tar hair dye” that may trigger nasty pores and skin reactions, comparable to blistering and scarring. Why add PPD in any respect? “In addition to achieving a darker and longer-lasting color, PPD helps shorten the duration of the tattooing process” from so long as 12 hours right down to lower than 2 hours. So, whereas the usage of black henna could also be “tempting,” it has the potential for each short- and long-term negative effects.
How widespread are these reactions? The finest estimate is about 2.5 %, which suggests 1 in 40 children who get a black henna tattoo could have an allergic response. Unfortunately, this observe “has become fashionable, ever since the Spice Girls decorated themselves with these body designs.” (Thanks lots, Spice Girls!) There’s no such factor as pure black henna, so “perhaps it is best to respect the traditional practice of red henna, lest a temporary tattoo turn into a permanent scar.”
The drawback is that “PPD can be found in products labeled as ‘red henna,’ too,” so simply because it’s purple doesn’t imply it isn’t dangerous. This is unhealthy information for the $100 million trade.
Because henna of all colours is so typically adulterated, beneath FDA pointers, “henna should not be applied to the skin at all.”