Chemistry of Mehendi Color: Lawsone Molecule- WorldOfChemicals

Vibrant chemistry of mehendi colour!

Category : General Chemicals
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Mehendi/Henna is a beautiful temporary body art form, popularly used in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Henna is a natural dye that stains the skin temporarily and helps one sport intricate designs on their hands. Lawsonia inermis is the flowering plant of henna. The leaves of this plant are used to dye skin, fingernails, hair and even leather or wool since the Bronze Age. This form of tattoo art is used extensively during festivals and celebrations, especially during weddings.

The leaves of henna when crushed do not stain the skin. They will stain only after the release of lawsone molecules (2-hydroxy-1, 4-naphthoquinone) present in the leaves, after smashing them with something mildly acidic liquid like tea. Thus, henna leaves are dried and ground into a powder to make a paste of toothpaste-like consistency. This paste is applied on the skin or hair for staining. This dye is completely natural and has no side effects. Side effects if any, arise only when natural henna is mixed with adulterants like carmine, pyrogallol, orange dye, chromium, silver nitrate, etc., that help in altering the effect of henna stain on skin.

 

Lawsone molecule

 

 

Avoid Black Mehendi

Natural mehendi, when applied to the skin rarely causes any adverse reactions. There is no such thing as black mehendi. In order for mehendi to produce a black colour chemicals that are unsafe for your skin have been added. Black mehendi should be avoided. A chemical dye known as p-Phenylenediamine, which is not authorized for use on the skin by the FDA is often added to the natural mehendi to produce a black colour.

 

Reference


[1] © From http://harshamehendiart.webs.com/mehendifaq.htm

[2] © From http://www.buzzle.com/articles/science-behind-the-henna-stains.html


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