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Henna is a plant, Lawsonia Inermis, thought to be indigenous to Egypt and in use for at least 5000 years. Useful both as a folk medicine and as a decorative cosmetic, the henna plant was eventually spread around the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf, finally reaching the Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia. The leaves of the plant contain a dye molecule, lawsone, which is responsible for coloring the skin. At Pure Soul Henna, we use organic henna from India. This henna has superior staining ability and a fine sift, which is essential for doing detailed work.
Henna is safe for use on the skin and hair. Although it has been taken internally as a folk remedy for various stomach ailments, we do not recommend eating it! It tastes disgusting, and for those with the condition known as G6PD, it would be toxic (as would Fava Beans). Henna is also effective in treating athlete's foot and dandruff, due to its anti-fungal properties. Some people report henna to be soothing for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, though it should never be applied to broken skin.
Swimming in chlorinated water such as pool-water, soaking in a Jacuzzi, washing dishes, and doing housework or strenuous activity like rock-climbing or yoga can accelerate the fading process. Exposure to household detergents and bleaches will also fade it, but you should never apply these strong chemicals directly to the skin. Your best bet is to soak in a Jacuzzi and gently exfoliate your skin once or twice a day, using a loofah or other scrubbing cloth. Henna is permanent on the hair and nails until they grow out.
Henna works by staining your dead skin cells. You have 7-10 layers of them on you. Right now. Even if you exfoliated this morning! Henna can last 1-4 weeks, but usually it looks fresh for about a week and fades after that, depending on how fast your skin is renewing itself.
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