Though henna’s intended use is for creating intricate, yet beautiful designs on the body, women have been using the natural plant‐based dye to remedy other issues with their hair and scalp. Different cultures have been taking advantage of this plant for centuries. Once discovered that henna left a red stain behind when left on objects or bodies for long periods of time, people started using the plant to dye their hair and finger nails. Aside from natural dye, henna can be used to treat persistent and chronic scalp conditions.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that can cause itchy and red patches to develop on your skin and even your scalp. While henna is not medically prescribed by doctors to treat psoriasis on the scalp, it has been used by psoriasis sufferers for years. Because henna has anti‐fungal properties, it has been known to keep the scalp free of redness, flakes, and itching that is caused by psoriasis. Henna also strengthens the skin, which is beneficial for psoriasis sufferers since the condition causes the skin to become fragile over time.
Like psoriasis, dandruff can cause unseemly itchy flakes on the scalp. Dandruff is often the result of a fungal infestation. Henna’s antifungal properties keep the flakes and itching at bay. When applied, the natural hair dye binds itself to the keratin that’s in your hair and creates a protective layer. This protective layer relieves your scalp of irritation. Dandruff is caused by excessive oiliness on the scalp. Henna actually reduces oil, thus reducing the dandruff.
This is a skin condition that I have personally been suffering from for years. Seborrhea dermatitis is a skin condition that causes the oily parts of your body to produce too much oil. This excessive amount of oil turns into itchy, scaly, bumpy, red painful patches. Even after all of the dermatologists and prescribed medications, I always go back to henna to help clear up my dermatitis when I have a flair up. In addition to antifungal properties, henna also has antiseptic properties. Since dermatitis is suspected to be caused by a yeast fungus called malassezia, the antifungal and antiseptic properties that are in henna are probably what causes the condition to subside until the next flare up.
Not only is henna used for dying the hair and treating the scalp, henna can also be used for hair growth. Will it grow your hair to extreme lengths in a short amount of time? Probably not. It doesn’t work over night. However, I can vouch for it contributing to the growth of thinning or broken hair. When I first began my henna journey, I was using it to help strengthen my hair. Because of my Seborrheic Dermatitis, I was losing hair. The dermatitis caused thick and large flakes on my scalp. When I removed the flakes, my hair came out with them. I did my research and henna was listed as a natural option for people with hair loss. I started applying the henna every month and slowly noticed my hair line and nape growing in thicker. Henna also is great for women who have thinning hair. Henna creates stronger strands of hair and promotes growth because of its antifungal/antiseptic properties. If your scalp spends less time fighting off dandruffs, dermatitis and psoriasis, it has more time to focus on hair growth.
Henna is a natural hair conditioner. Some like to mix their henna with coconut oil/milk or olive oil for added benefits. However, henna is an excellent conditioner all on its own. Henna is what I would call a deep conditioner because in order to see all of its benefits, it needs to be left on the hair for a few hours or more. I usually sleep with henna in my hair overnight. I have even heard of some women leaving henna in their hair for two or three days. After washing the henna out of your hair, you will notice a difference. Your hair will feel heavier, softer and you will notice less breakage.
Keep in mind that henna is not to be used without fully doing your research. There are some rules that need to be followed in order for you to get the best use out of henna. For example, henna should be mixed to a certain texture (pudding) and it should be applied to wet hair. It also should be mixed with something acidic like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar if you’re using it for its hair dying properties. There are a host of other things to take into consideration before applying henna. Make sure the proper research is done before you decide if henna is right for you.
Do you use henna to treat your hair or scalp condition(s)?