What are the dangers of mehndi

Color, Usage, and Risks: Henna Tattoos Just Temporary Fun or a Danger?

Mehndi - the temporary tattoo

Henna is made from the leaves of a plant, the so-called Cyper Shrub, won. This shrub grows in Africa or India, for example.

The red-brown henna powder often comes from Yemen or Indian Rajasthan. Aside from body paints, henna is also used as a hair dye that you can use to create special hair colors red and dark brown shades can generate.

Many different images and patterns can be drawn on the skin with henna. Especially in the respective holiday countries, many artists offer drawing henna tattoos on the street or on the beach.

These then hold a few days to weeks long before they peel off again. Henna tattoos are therefore not comparable to real tattoos that last a lifetime.

In contrast to a conventional tattoo, the images are not pricked with a needle, but rather colored on the surface of the skin, so that it is not a classic tattoo. The motifs therefore only remain on the body for a short time.

History of the Mehndis

Henna tattoos can look back on a long tradition. This form of body painting was already used in ancient times ritual or cosmetic purposes carried out. Especially in

  • Persia,
  • India,
  • North Africa and
  • in the Arabian Peninsula

found the Mehndis widespread. In various North African countries, the mehndis are used as ornate ornament at weddings.

Renamed "Henna-Tattoo"

In the west, stars like Madonna for the fact that the mehndis came into fashion there too. Since the paintings look very similar to tattoos, they were given the name in Germany Henna tattoos.

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Painting techniques

A henna tattoo is mostly made with different Brushes and stencils applied to the desired parts of the body such as the hands. Of course, you can also apply your own motifs. The imagination knows no limits.

Special literature provides detailed information about the various painting techniques.

Time consuming procedure

However, sufficient time is required to apply a henna tattoo, because the completion of a motif with pure henna can six to eight hours take advantage of.

Henna decals

If you are in a hurry, you should use henna decals. These are just moistened a little and then applied to the skin. Ready-made henna pens are also available in stores.

  • © mahesh hariani - www.fotolia.de

  • © Annatamila - www.fotolia.de

  • © Eric Limon - www.fotolia.de

Health risks

In terms of health, the henna powder, which is usually a pure natural substance is considered harmless. When adding the hair dye p-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is often used to create a black shade used, allergic reactions and severe skin damage can occur.

It is therefore better not to use black-coloring henna or at least carry out a skin contact test on a small part of the body.

The dangers of PPD

Henna usually has one orange to brownish color. The addition of PPD can darken the color and even turn it black. The darker the henna color, the more PPD it contains.

Many tattoos that are painted with henna paint in the holiday regions contain a highly toxic substance known as PPD (para-phenylenediamine). This henna-colored substance can lead to severe allergies and is therefore prohibited in Germany for products that come into contact with the skin.

We only contain this additive in hair dyes.

Anyone who has ever come into contact with this poisonous henna paint and developed an allergy will also be allergic to some of them in the future Leather goods or dark clothing, as these also contain the substance PPD.

In addition, those affected often have to retrain or are restricted in their choice of profession. For example, they can no longer learn or practice the professions of hairdresser, shoe seller or chemical worker.


Henna tattoos look beautiful, but if they are drawn with a color that contains the PPD in high concentrations, they can be very harmful to your health. Therefore, you should pay attention to natural products or yours when buying Mix the henna paint yourself. Instructions can be found here.

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More on the subject on the Internet

  • henna-und-mehr.deA website that offers henna and henna stencils and at the same time reports on the customs around the use of henna in the Arab world.