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[Pics] This Woman’s Extreme Allergic Reaction is a Reminder that Not All Henna Is Created Equal

• Mar 14, 2016

black henna

Henna is a popular dye alternative for many naturals who seeking to remove harsh chemicals from their hair regimen. But it must still be purchased and applied with caution.

Youtube vlogger Chemese recently posted a series of shocking photos to her Facebook fan page that graphically exhibit an allergic reaction to henna. She posted this image with the caption;

If you been following me for a while you know that I tried to be as transparent as possible. You will also know that my 100 days of just juice and smoothies has been very important to me. Today is day 100!!! The past couple of days has been extremely rough. I mention before that I die my hair with Henna because of my research and what I was told that it was supposed to be completely natural and chemical free but it wasn’t and I had a severe allergic reaction as you can see from the pictures. I’m not posting this for any advice or any negative comments. I’m fully aware of what these pictures look like. I had to endure this nightmare. If you do not have anything nice to say please keep strolling. I want to let everyone that pray for me or send me well-wishes know what was going on. I was in severe pain from my scalp burning and itching with my face completely’s swollen to the point I was unrecognisable. The most scary part about this whole thing is that my eyes was completely swollen shut where I couldn’t see for 2 days. My doctor was afraid that it was going to start affecting my breathing which that didn’t happen and as of today my eyes are open and I can see again but my face is still very swollen (I don’t look like myself). I’m not in any more pain and I feel things are heading in the right direction. I hate that this had to happen but now I’m even more focus on making sure that my health is number one priority. Once I get back to looking like myself again I will make a more detailed video on my YouTube channel. Thanks again for all the love, support, and well wishes.”

So what exactly went wrong? In a previous post, Chemese explained that she is in fact allergic to para-phenylenediamine or PPD, a chemical commonly found in hair dye. At the suggestion of her dermatologist, Chemese was told to look into more natural dye options. However many henna dyes that claim to be pure contain significant amounts of chemicals like PPD. From;

Para-phenylenediamine, or a close chemical variant of para-phenylenediamine is in virtually every chemical hair dye, even most hair dyes which claim to be natural. There is now an epidemic of sensitization (allergic reaction) to this chemical because of over-exposure. The allergic reactions can be severe and require hospitalization. Long term effects of exposure to this chemical include lupus, asthma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and there appear to also be links to breast, uterine and bladder cancer.

If you want to color your hair, and cover gray, and do not want to incur the health hazards of para-phenylenediamine, use ONLY pure henna, indigo, and other plant dyes that have been certified by an independent laboratory to be free of chemical additives and adulterants…

Para-phenylenediamine is expressly forbidden for use on skin because it is such a dangerous chemical.”

In another Facebook post, Chemese explains how she came across henna containing PPD.

Let me tell you all a story. In 2014 I learned the hard way that I’m allergic to para-phenylenediamine (or PPD). It is a dark dye used in almost every hair colour on the market, regardless of brand. The darker the colour, usually the higher the concentrations. More than two-thirds of hair dyes currently contain PPD or related chemicals. I dyed my hair jet black to cover up grey hair. It was an awful decision and experience to have to go through because of the allergic reaction. I thought I was going to lose all my hair, fortunately that didn’t happen. My dermatologist told me that I need to look at more natural dyes such as henna. I been putting up with my great hair but it’s been getting out-of-control and it’s everywhere. So, I got super excited when I found a place in Austin that use a natural henna hair dye. So I schedule an appointment for Saturday, March 5 at 2 o’clock. That was yesterday. She first did a strand test to make sure I didn’t have any reaction which I didn’t. So she proceeded to apply the henna to my hair. I left the salon with the henna still in my hair because I had to let it sit for 2 to 4 hours. Four hours later I washed it out. It took about an hour and a half because I wanted to make sure that it was completely out. I fell in love with the results but that was short-lived because two hours after washing it out my scalp started itching and burning. Which leads me to my current situation. My ears are red and swollen along with my face is swollen (I look like a monster). My scalp is on fire and it won’t stop itching. Needless to say I’m having allergic reaction so that henna couldn’t have been natural. I am beating myself up because I should’ve left well along. I should have continued to just put up with my gray hair. Right now, all I could think of are things I should have done instead of what I did to myself. I don’t blame that salon, I blame myself. And nothing is going to take this pain away but time. I’m sad.”

There have already been three recorded deaths this year from PPD found in hair dyes.

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12 Comments on "[Pics] This Woman’s Extreme Allergic Reaction is a Reminder that Not All Henna Is Created Equal"

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I got a henna tattoo senior week of high school at the beach, and within an hour it became … a sight. I didn’t know of the correlation between ppd in henna tattoos and ppd in dyes, so the next time I attempted to dye my hair dark black, I nearly had a similar reaction. Not knowing how to leave well enough alone, I tried again, but this time, doing a patch test first, and that was… a sight. Long story short, PPD isn’t just in henna. Once you have a reaction to it, it’s likely your reactions will continue… Read more »

OMG thank God she didn’t die! Hopefully she will get well soon!


Reading her statement I though she was perhaps exaggerating. But wow those pictures are enough to keep me away from that mess.


Glad she is healing! Ask questions and research ask to see what EXACTLY the salon is using and view the bottle. . I REALLY want to try henna vice traditional dyes…idk NOW…maybe JUST embrace the grey or look hard at something else. What are the reputable henna companies?


Use henna from Lush! Every single one of their products are naturally made and contain zero chemicals and of course, the ingredients they use are fair trade. I have extremely sensitive skin and have never had a problem with their products


That henna wasn’t natural. I’m an avid henna head and if you want to try it — ‚ ‚and Indian grocery stores are great places to buy from.


Thank you.Does the henna make dry out or hard? I.have regular.dye in my hair and.“growing” it out so.I.can.use the henna.

Philly Jawn

she better just embrace the grays in her head forget that


I know a lady who used commercial hair dye and had the same reaction. My cousin is allergic to sulphur and somehow used a shampoo that didn’t specified it was in the ingredients. Her face swole up like this too. It was scary.


DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMN. Well I’m glad that she’s getting better, because WOW!


This woman could have died! I’d rather be gray!

PPD is in every hair dye, including many hennas and many so-called organic dyes. Not worth it. Thank goodness she’s recovering. I’m so glad that she was brave and honest to help others think before they purchase.


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