(NaturalNews) Many henna hair dyes on the market masquerade as "Natural" or "Pure Henna". These so-called henna products are sometimes laced with toxic ingredients and heavy metals. While adverse reactions are usually dismissed as sensitivity on the part an individual, the fact remains that an ingredient known as PPD, or Para-Phenylenediamine, is the poisonous chemical that is found in many of these "natural" hair dyes. It is also found in fabric dyes, cosmetics, printing and photocopying inks and photo developing chemicals, and is responsible for severe and even fatal reactions.
Many well-informed people have chosen natural products, such as henna, over commercial hair dyes because of wanting to stay well away from toxic products. Unfortunately, so-called natural henna products often contain very little henna, but contain the same poisonous ingredients as many of these dyes.
Reactions to PPD
A full-blown reaction does not occur immediately after use. In many cases, a negative reaction is mild and will sometimes start with an itchy scalp or body, but as the days move on, it can begin to escalate. Sensitization is what triggers the allergic reaction. This can lead to swelling, and an intensely burning, itching sensation spreading across the skin. Serious reactions to PPD can be urticaria and anaphylaxis, which are both severe types of rashes. An allergic reaction has been known to put individuals into a coma; on rare occasions it has proven fatal.
In addition, PPD can leave one with permanent scars and permanent sensitivity to chemicals. The long term effects of exposure to this chemical include asthma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, lupus and the chemical is also possibly linked to breast, uterine and bladder cancer.
What is Pure Henna?
Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is a flowering plant used for centuries to dye skin, hair, nails, leather and wood. The leaves of the henna plant have a reddish-orange dye molecule and will stain the hair red-orange, shades of which depend on the natural color of the hair. There is no such thing as black henna. In order to color the hair black, chemicals, metallic salts or other plants are added. Only henna leaves are useful for dying hair.
To truly achieve a black, natural color using henna, mix pure henna with indigo. Indigo is a deeply pigmented blue plant. Combined with henna, it can produce shades of color which range from black, chestnut to light brown. Henna and indigo may also be mixed with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, since the acidity can help to make the color take. Certain teas and coffee, if they are concentrated enough, can also dye the hair and cover gray.
About the author: Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about living as natural a life as possible and reducing damage to the environment wherever possible. She spends a lot of time researching and writing about alternate medicines and healthy, green living, and manages to find the time to home-school her two daughters.