No case of henna poisoning in Bahrain

June 27, 2012

Women should be highly discerning in choosing products when they go to beauty saloons in order to avoid health risks, an expert has said.

“Some of the products used by saloons are not genuine,” Naima Al Beloushi, a beauty specialist, said.

“They are cheap and can cause serious harm through poison and burns, to women. They must be banned and beauticians must be directed to use only safe products,” she said as Bahrainis debated the status of beauty salons following the tragedy that struck an Arab woman in the UAE and the Qatari ban on importing black henna.

Khairya Mousa, the head of public health, said that no single case of henna poisoning has been registered in Bahrain.

“We are aware of the developments in both Qatar and the UAE and we are applying a strict policy here,” she said. “We have a dedicated team of inspectors who check all beauty salons and make sure that everything is in compliance with the rules and regulations,” she said.

Majed Sharaf, the head of the Bahrain consumers’ society, said that customers have to be careful when they use the products.

“They have to be aware of the product’s country of origin and to know the components so that they do not put their health at risk,” he said. “They should avoid the excessive use of artificial beauty products.”

Competent authorities should at the same time intensify inspection checks to ensure there are no abuses and that the rules governing the sector are upheld, he said.

Qatar has imposed a ban on the use of black henna containing more than six per cent of Para-Phenylendiamine (PPD), a toxic substance.

However, the product, marketed under different brands and mostly imported from Asian countries, are freely available for sale, at QR7.50 (Dh7.56) or QR8 for a jar, in popular supermarkets and few corner stores, local daily Gulf Times reported this month.

Hairdressers confirmed that they still used the product for their customers, the newspaper said.

In the UAE, a 21-year-old Arab woman was admitted in an intensive care unit at a local hospital one week after she applied black henna on her hands and arms in an Ajman beauty saloon.

Her doctor said that the patient suffered from severe allergic reactions from the black henna application.

“It caused a negative reaction,” Dr Shubhada Mandar Bichi told Gulf News. “Once the body’s immune system triggers an allergic reaction to PPD further exposure can be fatal.”

PPD is often added to henna to speed up the dying process and produce a deeper mark on the skin.

Experts say that PPD is clear until it is infused with oxygen and partial oxidisation causes severe allergic reactions in some people. In the hair dye, it can be dangerous to people with an allergy to PPD.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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