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

Though it's being widely shared as 'Chinese mehendi', harmful chemicals in locally produced mehendi can be really harmful for the skin.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 25, 2016 11:10 am
chinese mehendi, chinese mehendi viral pictures facebook, mechinese mehendi allergies Facebook, chinese mehendi allergies reason, mehendi allergies photos viral, Indian express, indian express news Almost all henna pastes, dyes and hair colours contain harmful chemicals. (Source: Mehsana Rocks/Facebook)

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.

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Speaking to, 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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  1. S
    Jan 30, 2017 at 4:52 pm
    This kind of product dont in market
    1. G
      Oct 25, 2016 at 4:43 am
      unlike vermillion, mehendi is applied to large parts of the hand and possibly the feet also. So any allergic reaction is much more and can multiply.. a test dose has to be done before it is applied on a larger part of the body..
      1. S
        Sankara Menon
        Oct 26, 2016 at 12:51 am
        Paid ad by chinese?
        1. S
          Oct 25, 2016 at 10:32 am
          Well I don't approve of it and I think if he is doing that then he should not be. However, if you actually read what was used on the first international yoga day, it was mostly Indian made to go with Make in India. There was in fact a couple of slippages but the majority was Indian. The only circus is the one you are in. As to Chinese cellphone, you will see soon Indian companies will fill the void. When Indians say no to being taken over by China and start using their own products, they will create more jobs for their own people and create wealth. I stand by what I have said.
          1. S
            Oct 25, 2016 at 5:58 am
            Well we do not want Chinese products in India.
            1. R
              Oct 25, 2016 at 6:47 am
              did u r parents tell Modi before giving u birth. Not every thing is his responsibility
              1. S
                Oct 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm
                Have you identified the components in Micromax and Intex phones, gadgets and devices, and checked from which country they are sourced? For that matter one should stop using Apple, Samsung and Sony products too? Besides you must be using an Airtel or BSNL or some other ISP if you are not on Smartphone internet. Do check with your service provider the switches, modems and routers they are using.
                1. X
                  Oct 25, 2016 at 6:22 am
                  Well then tell PMji Modiji to stop doing yoga circus on Chinese mats. Or using Chinese cellphones for selfies.
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