Mixing henna with PPD causes skin complications
Many women suffer from skin irritation and other diseases due to the chemicals used in making henna.
On the day of her wedding one year ago, Liqa’a Mohammed put henna on her skin. Today, the burns caused by the henna are still visible on her skin.
“I didn’t realize that the henna I used wasn’t natural,” she said. “At first, I thought the burns were because of an evil eye. I went to a sheikh to heal me with the Qur’an, but I didn’t recover. The skin irritation increased, so I had to visit a doctor. He gave me ointments and told me that it was caused by the chemicals added to henna.
“Now, I hate henna. I don’t want to try it again because I suffered a lot during my honeymoon. I hope all women will realize the negative effects the chemicals added to henna can cause.”
Some women hairdressers make henna by mixing natural henna and paraphenylenediamine (PPD), an aromatic amine used in everything from hair dye to body armor.
Um Mohammed Al-Hababi, a hairdresser, said, “I clean the natural henna and then add some drops of PPD. The PPD is brought by some traders on request only.”
“I mix the henna and the PPD. The less PPD I add, the less red the henna becomes. After that I put it in bags and use it for brides.”
She claimed that the PPD added to henna makes its color appear on the skin after only about an hour and last for approximately three weeks. By contrast, natural henna needs about six to twelve hours of soaking to appear on skin.
For his part, Dr. Mohammed Al-Shami, a specialist in skin diseases in Al-Kuwait Hospital, said the PPD added to henna can cause several negative effects including skin irritation and sores.
Henna is used more frequently in Yemeni coastal areas such as Aden, Hadramout and Hodeida, while nail polish is used more frequently in mountainous cities such as Taiz and Ibb.