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Decoding the truth behind the ‘Chinese mehendi’ photos that went viral

china mehendi

The festive season is here and everyone from children to adults is in a mood to celebrate. Dussehra and Karva Chauth have already gone by and festivals like Dhanteras and Diwali are around the corner. For women, getting mehendi applied becomes one of the most important affairs and perhaps the most anticipated too. After all, the intricately woven henna designs on the hands and feet only enhances one’s beauty.

However, what has recently surfaced in certain news outlets could leave many thinking twice before getting mehendi designs done. According to a news channel, a recent case of getting mehendi applied has turned a nightmare for some women, as their skin is reacting badly to the particular henna paste. The photos of a woman’s hand after the mehendi reacted on her skin were widely circulated on Facebook and other social media sites. It has been widely speculated that this henna paste has been manufactured in China. Though this calls for immediate attention, it is also important to know the actual truth behind this allergy forming toxic substance.

Speaking to IndianExpress.com, Dr Sophia Jaglan, consultant dermatologist at Primus Superspeciality Hospital, said it is wrong that this particular henna paste is being touted as made in China. A lot of henna products, dyes and hair colours contain these harmful chemical substances. Mostly added to help retain the desired dark colour, these chemicals are even present in the so-called ammonia-free and natural hair colours.

Even vermillion, or sindoor, applied traditionally on the forehead by many married women contain chemical substances like lead that cause reactions and allergies. “Almost 90 per cent of such products contain chemicals like paraphenylenediamine or PPD, phenylmercuric nitrate, potassium dichromate, etc.,” she said.

Other toxic adulterants, that Dr Jaglan said are generally found, are Balsam of Peru, Cobalt Chloride, Colophony, Paraben mix and Quaternium 15. The only way to be careful and take precautions to avoid such mishaps is by checking the package of the product for chemicals’ content, said Dr Jaglan. But if, say, you are getting mehendi applied by a roadside artists, it will be difficult to detect if it contains the toxic elements.

However, such allergic conditions are absolutely treatable. “Based on the severity of the allergies, there are different methods of treatment used to cure these,” Dr Jaglan said.

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