The Science of Henna and Skin
What happens if you get henna below the stratum corneum?
If you henna over broken skin, a cut, or a scratch, henna will stain the skin layer that lies beneath the stratum corneum, the dermal layer. That stain will last forever! The dermal skin layer beneath the stratum corneum does not exfoliate. Tattoos are in that lower layer, which is why they last a lifetime.
One summer morning in 1990, I had a tiny scratch on my palm, so that skin was open to the dermal layer. I hennaed over that scratch. The henna pattern on the rest of my hand exfoliated in the usual way, but the spot where henna reached the dermal layer left a stain .....and 14 years later, that stain is still there .
Though henna will stain the dermal layer, henna is unsuitable for a permanent tattoo. Henna is not sterile, and can cause an infection if it gets into the dermal layer. The henna spot spreads out beyond the original cut, and looks like a freckle.
Never henna over a cut, abrasion, or open skin. If there is a cut, no matter how small, alter the henna pattern to go around the injury, not over it!
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*"Henna, the Joyous Body Art"
the Encyclopedia of Henna
Catherine Cartwright-Jones c 2000
registered with the US Library of Congress