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Mind that mehndi

Dye mixed in mehndi can not only cause allergic reactions but may also increase a woman’s chances of developing leukaemia.

health and fitness Updated: May 13, 2010 14:08 IST
Aroma Sah

Mehndi is traditional and looks beautiful, too. But a recent study by researchers at a UAE University states that women are twice more prone to developing leukaemia as men, and the cause could be the use of synthetic forms of henna dye.

What’s on your hand?
Most henna products available in the market have synthetic colours mixed in them. These chemicals can affect both skin and hair. “It is not uncommon to spot people who’ve allergies and rashes after henna application on their hands. The purpose behind mixing the chemicals in henna is to get a richer colour,” says Anuradha Chetyala, director, Anoo’s Beauty Salon and Clinic. “There are mehndi appliers in every market and you cannot trust what all they use. One needs to go to a reputed salon for henna application, on head or hand, and check their product for 100 per cent purity,” says beauty expert Ambika Pillai. “Henna can easily be prepared at home. But people do not have the time,” says Chetyala. For example, one can mix clove oil, coffee or tea decoction and lime juice with henna for best results.

Word of caution
Do not get run down by the beliefs that the darker your henna, the more you’re loved. “Once a bride came to me for her makeup and her hands were so badly swollen. It was a terrible reaction and she did not care to wash it off as she ‘believed’ it would bring bad luck,” recalls Pillai. If you spot a rash or allergy, wash off the henna immediately and visit a dermatologist. “The study that states the dye used in henna could be the reason behind leukaemia must specify what chemical it is, because 90 per cent of the world over the age of 50 uses hair dye for colouring their hair. Identifying the chemical is important,” adds Pillai.

-with inputs from PTI