Beware of artificial henna

KABEER YOUSUF –
MUSCAT, June 25 –
Henna is, by tradition, an important element of the Eid celebrations and young girls, irrespective of their origin or background, love to have beautiful henna designs being embossed on their palms, hands and feet with henna for the Eid festivities.
Due to difficulty in availing fresh henna leaves, to grind it well and to take care of the whole process, they prefer small tubes of henna being sold in the market for some 500bs over the fresh one. However, these quick fix henna tubes are not without any danger as some of them can just not only spoil your family’s Eid celebrations but also keep you in hospital for days, warn dermatologists and beauticians.
“Many manufacturers of these cheap henna tubes mix additives and the like with the henna to change the shade of the stuff from original henna colour to black. They might be adding some spurious chemical to the henna to get a dark shade and it’s dangerous”, says Dr Nissar Dermatologist, Badr al Samaa Hospital Al Khuwair.
Experts caution girls to be careful of henna containing dye and artificial henna as it can cause skin infections. If used frequently, these henna tubes can also cause skin ailments. “Basically, it’s not the pure henna that’s giving you the allergy but it’s the additives that is in use to change the normal brownish colour to black”, he adds.
Meet Umaima (name changed) who was thrilled by the design of henna applied by an artist on her whole hand during last Eid. But her happiness turned into pain as soon as she washed the henna. She experienced severe rashes and itching sensation which became unbearable with each passing minute. She was rushed to a nearby doctor who claimed the symptoms to be a reaction of henna containing dye. Today, she is living with the permanent scar on her hand.
Artificial henna, available in black, maroon, green and red colours are imported in huge quantities and are sold in various supermarkets and downtown Ruwi shops.