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How Long Does Henna Last on Your Skin?

Reviewed on 3/19/2021
The henna stain would last anywhere between a few days to weeks
The henna stain would last anywhere between a few days to weeks

The henna stain would last anywhere between a few days to weeks, depending on the area where you are applying and the number of times you expose the area to water. The color then fades away gradually. For example:

  • If you apply it on the back of the hands or tops of the feet, the color will last nearly 2 weeks but will fade away if you wash your hands a lot.
  • If you apply it on the forehead, cheeks, noses, lips, ears, scalps, and necks, the stain will last a few days to a week.
  • If you use it on the shoulder, chest, back, buttock, back, belly, and upper arm, the stain will last for 7-10 days.
  • If you apply it on thighs, lower legs, and lower arms, the stains will last 10 days to 2 weeks.

The stains wouldn’t last long if you:

  • Are elderly
  • Swim frequently
  • Exfoliate regularly

What is henna?

Henna is a coloring agent or dye extracted from the plant Lawsonia inermis. Natural henna consists of a tannin dye, lawsone, which produces a red-orange color when applied. Natural henna is low in causing allergic reactions. However, some cases reported redness and swelling with the henna application.

Henna has been used to create a temporary tattoo because the stains don’t go deep into the skin. Also, there isn’t a risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis infection.

Henna has been traditionally used for body decorating in Islamic and Hindu cultures.

Is henna approved in the United States?

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use in hair dyes only. FDA has not approved any direct application of henna to the skin. As henna isn’t regulated in the USA, there are chances of adulterating henna with coal-tar dye, such as p-phenylenediamine (PPD), to make black henna. There have been various reports about PPD causing allergic reactions in people. Hence, it is advisable not to apply black, blue, or brown henna on your skin because it can have adverse effects.

QUESTION

What percentage of the human body is water? See Answer

What are some of the ways to remove henna stains?

Henna stains fade away completely within a few days or weeks. If you wish to remove the stains, you should:

  • Exfoliate with a scrub.
  • Use antibacterial soap and warm water.
  • Soak your hands in salt water.
  • Apply mild face bleach.

Who should not apply henna?

Applying henna should not be encouraged in the following population:

What are the other uses of henna?

There is insufficient evidence about henna being useful in the following condition:

  • Hair color
  • Hair dyes
  • Dye for textiles

It is not advised to ingest henna for its purported effects on gut health.

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References
Peng F, Du J, Xue CH, et al. Henna Tattoo: Temporary or Permanent? Chin Med J (Engl). 2017;130(22):2769-2770. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5695072/

WebMD. Henna. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-854/henna

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Temporary Tattoos, Henna/Mehndi, and "Black Henna": Fact Sheet. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-products/temporary-tattoos-hennamehndi-and-black-henna-fact-sheet

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