Is it safe to apply henna on my hands and feet during pregnancy?

If you are about to attend a wedding party during your pregnancy you might really want to know if applying mehendi to your hands and feet during this time will be safe. In fact, you might even like to have your hands and feet painted with henna during your own “godbharai” celebration particularly because in India henna is considered auspicious. So, if you are a would-be mom looking for the answer, read on to know if you can actually use henna on your hands and feet safely during pregnancy.

When it comes to henna or mehendi, the first thing that you need to know is that there are different types of mehendi available. The original henna, which is prepared from the leaves of the henna plant and is not mixed with any other chemical based ingredient, is considered to be absolutely safe for use even during pregnancy.

Common skin problems during pregnancy

The other henna variant that is commonly available in the market is the black henna, which often contains a chemical named PPD, which is also responsible for the quick dark color of the henna. In many countries including U.S. and European nations PPD has been banned from use in products for direct application on the skin as it can cause dermatitis and other skin allergies.

So, using black henna on your hands and feet during pregnancy is not at all safe, as during pregnancy your immunity naturally goes down and your chance of falling ill is high. Using black henna may cause any of the below mentioned symptoms on the skin where it has been applied,

  • Raised lesions
  • Extreme burning sensation
  • Scarring
  • Blisters
  • Increased sensitivity
  • loss of pigmentation

In India, the production of the mehendi that are commonly used for painting hands and feet are not properly regulated and when you are buying a mehendi cone from the market you do not actually know what chemicals are present in it. These cones also do not contain any ingredient list that you can refer. It might not contain anything harmful, but at the same time, there is also the possibility that some chemical ingredients must have been mixed with the henna to get a richer color instantly, which can propel the sales. So, to be on the safe side, it is best suggested to not to use the henna cones that are commonly available in the market, during pregnancy.

You can always opt to pick an original henna powder from a reputed and trusted herbal brand and use this henna powder to make a paste for painting your hands and feet. The problem with original henna powder is that, it does not give the black color that you would get from most of the readymade mehendi cones. The original color of the mehendi is brownish and it is not very dark to see on the skin right after its application. The beauty of the original mehendi is that the color of it starts to get darker with time, which is opposite for the chemical based hennas.

So, during pregnancy, if you are willing to use henna on your hands and feet collect a good quality henna powder from an herbal brand and mix it with a few home ingredients that are known to make the original color of the henna deeper.  You can simply prepare a concentrated concoction of coffee and add a few drops of lemon juice to it and use this liquid mixture to make a smooth paste of the dry henna powder that you have bought. It is also believed that letting the henna powder get soaked in an iron container overnight deepens its color. So, you can also use this technique to get rich dark color from the original henna powder.  Another ingredient that is often used for darkening the color of mehendi is clove.  None of these home ingredients have any chemicals that can have a serious damaging effect on your skin even during pregnancy and hence, if you can prepare a cone with your home prepared henna, it is considered to be quite safe for application on hands and feet even during pregnancy.

However, at the time of pregnancy, the sensitivity of the skin is increased and hence it is always suggested that before you use anything on a wide area of your skin, opt for a patch test, which will ensure that the henna is not causing any itching or uncomfortable sensation on your skin.

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