Henna is becoming extensively popular. No matter which part of the world you are from, you have definitely heard of henna if not already used it. People from the Middle East or South Asia believe that henna is very beneficial for hair. You may wonder if that is true. If there is any benefits or disadvantage of henna for hair or any side effects related to applying henna on your hair or on any part of your body. In this article, I collected all the information about the benefits of henna and any possible side effects or disadvantage of henna based on research studies.
Proven benefits of Henna for your hair
Henna (Lawsonia inermis, syn. L. alba) is a flowering plant that has been used to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather. It has been also a traditional herbal medicine for many years.
Henna has been known for:
- a cooling agent
- an astringent
- an anti-fungal
- an anti-bacterial herb for the skin and hair.
Henna leaf extracts have antimicrobial activity on the bacteria responsible for the common skin infections. Alcoholic and oily henna extracts have similar effects to some of the antibiotics commonly used in clinical practice
In a research study, it was noted that Lawsonia inermis had antimicrobial activity against both gram-positive (S. aureus, B. subtilis and S. epidermidis) and gram-negative (E. coli, S. typhi, Klebsiella spp. and Shigella) bacteria.
People who use henna regularly they have experienced benefits of henna when applied on hair, skin and nail.
- is a hair conditioner.
- can repair damaged brittle hair.
- can be used to treat dandruff.
- has antifungal activity.
Benefits of henna and how to apply it
Henna is a hair conditioner
Apart from the red colour and nice red shades that gives to your hair, henna conditions your hair very nicely. If you recently bleach your hair you have surly noticed cracked or frizzy hair. Apply the henna paste on your hair for 2-4 hours, you can even leave it overnight and then rinse. Rinse well, you may have to repeat it a few times. You can shampoo your hair if you need too. After drying you will see your hair shiny, soft and silky again.
When combined with hydrating ingredients such as eggs, henna makes a great conditioner.
Henna can repair damaged hair
If you have made your hair curly in a salon with those special chemicals, you know that how much you have to care to keep a nice shiny curl, otherwise you get frizzy hair instead of the curl. Applying henna on your hair repairs damaged hair and makes it shiny and frizz-free.
Henna can treat dandruff
One of the main treatment for dandruff is frequent shampooing and cleaning the oily scalp. Henna reduces excess scalp oil, that could be the reason for its efficacy in treating dandruff. weekly treatment with henna can help to get rid of dandruff.
Henna has antifungal activity
For many years henna has been used in cultural or religious ceremonies for dying nail, hair and skin. Dying nails with henna may be effective prevention or treatment for fungal nail diseases and may be attributed to antifungal activity of henna.
Henna can heal cracked heel
You may get really annoyed because of your cracked heels that are visible with summer shoes. Henna is one of the home remedies for the cracked heel.
Apply a paste of henna and a few drops of lemon juice on cracked heal. You may have to use a plastic wrap on your feet and wear socks to hold it in place. Leave it for a few hours or until it dries up then wash it off. It’s hard to move around while you have them on your heels, so it’s better to apply it at night. You may repeat every week or twice a week (if that’s not too hard for you). It gradually heals the cracks and your heels become soft again.
Disadvantage of henna for hair
Henna side effects
Red henna is relatively safe for most people. However, there are a few reports of contact allergic reactions. It may cause inflammation, redness, itching or burning sensation when applied on the scalp or on body parts for some people. In some countries such as India that it has been used extensively, many people have been exposed to henna, so the sensitivity reaction to henna must be negligible.
If that is the first time you are using it always apply it on a small part of your body like the inside of your elbow. Wait for 48 hours and see if that area is red, itchy or burning, you may skip applying henna on your scalp. If you decide to give it a try after a while, repeat the test.
Can henna be dangerous?
Yes for some people it can be dangerous.
People with Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDD) should not use henna. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDD) is an inborn error of metabolism in which the red blood cells breakdown. Apart from foods such as Fava beans, there are many substances that are potentially harmful to people with G6PD deficiency including henna.
The use of henna should be discouraged in infants in general, and in known G6PD deficient individuals of any age.
Side effects of balck henna
Henna is not black. Products sold as “black henna” or “neutral henna” are not made from henna, but may be derived from indigo (in the plant Indigofera tinctoria) or Cassia obovata. Black henna is the combination of red henna with p-phenylenediamine (PPD) and is used for temporary black henna tattoos. PPD is harmful. It can penetrate the skin and it may accumulate in the body.
Please share your experiences and leave your comments.