Inquiring Minds : Henna – A Serious Note (part 3 of 3)

Click here to see part 1: Henna - How Does it Work?
Click here to see part 2: Henna - Myth or Fact?

Henna has been used by Asian women for a long time and for this reason it is usually regarded as safe. There are some serious concerns about it so if you do venture into Henna, take your time to research it. These are more serious than the debate about whether or not it changes hair texture.

The concerns I’m talking about are

1. Be aware that while the FDA has approved Henna for use in hair, it has not approved it for use on skin. If you are going to use Henna be aware of the serious allergies and scarring that can happen if you do not use pure Henna.

The EU consumer body has found that there is no safe level for Lawsone (the dye in Henna) as it can mutate cells. Here is the entire report for you to read. So why has the FDA approved and not revised its approval of Henna? I think that this is because of several reasons.

1. Long history of use without adverse effects
2. Only Pure Henna is authorised (very rarely are people allergic to pure Henna).
3. The approval limits the use to hair dye. In effect, if only the hair is dyed, there is no interaction with the human body


  1. Wow,

    Thanks for all of your research on Henna. It has served me well.


  2. I've also heard that henna 'MAY' be able to seal splits in the hair, could this be, because henna coats the outside of the hair,and how permanent is this coating

  3. Hi Anonymous, Henna cannot do this. I'll do a little diagram and post it up to explain it better!

  4. jc, what's the deal with body art quality henna? henna is used to create designs on skin and that's the kind of henna people want to put in their hair.

  5. Indeed, serious matter. I was not aware of that.
    If Henna use is restricted to hair, isn't there still a "human body interaction" through the scalp?

  6. Misha - Body art quality is 100% pure henna with no additives.

    Lola - Hair outside the follicle is 'dead'. There is no DNA to mutate.

  7. Please forgive me for being slow JC. Following on from Lola's question, if henna makes contact with the scalp - say during a prolonged henna treatment, is there a risk of cell mutation then? Considering the cells on the scalp are still alive this would seem to make sense. I am considering using henna for the first time and would really appreciate your views on this.

  8. Nnesom - The EU report makes it clear that henna does have the potential to mutate cells, so the answer to your question is yes henna has the potential to mutate cells on the scalp. It is generally not recommended that you place henna on your scalp as it will dye the skin too (remember the artistic henna done on hands). However as this article states Indian women have been using henna for a very long time for hair and skin without serious adverse effects.

  9. Thanks so much for responding JC!

  10. To cover grey hair, what is a safer alternative than henna and/or indigo? Thanks.


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