At least three young women in Lucknow developed rashes and then tiny eruptions on their hands and arms when they got mehendi applied for ‘Karwa Chauth’.
As the itching intensified, two of the three women had to be taken to a doctor who diagnosed the problem as a “reaction to strong chemicals used in the mehendi”.
According to medical experts, chemical-laced mehendi that is becoming increasing popular, may cause serious skin infections, including cancer.
“The chemical-based henna preparations are becoming popular because they give colour almost instantly while the herbal preparations need to be applied for a few hours before the colour emerges. The mehendi experts also prefer the chemical-based preparations because it means they can cater to more customers in a limited time which means increased income,” said Surekha Iyer, a city-based dermatologist.
The chemical mehendi comes in cones and the paste is smoother than the herbal version and this allows finer designs to be made.
“When these chemicals come in contact with the skin of a person, the individual becomes prone to rashes, itching, and swelling. Several of the mehendi packs sold in the market contain Paraphenylene Diamine (PPD) chemicals, which are the primary cause of skin problems. To ensure that the mehendi leaves a dark colour, it is mixed with Sodium Picramate. When these chemical-based hennas are exposed to sunlight, they can cause cancer,” the dermatologist said.
The use of chemical henna can cause serious skin problems such as ‘Papules’ and ‘Macules’.
“The infection may spread to the entire body and also lead to the formation of pus. Thus, it is advisable to either avoid them or consult doctors if there is any trouble,” she added.