How to Remove Henna from Skin

In this article, you will learn the various ways of how to remove henna from skin. Read on

WHAT IS HENNA?

Henna is a coloring paste or dye that is extracted from the Lawsonia inermus tree native to tropical regions of Africa and Northern Asia. The flowers of this tree are frequently used in making perfume, while its leaves are dried, grounded into a fine powder, and then made into a paste which is used to draw temporary tattoos on the body and even sometimes, used as hair dyes.

The leaves of the Lawsonia inermus tree contain a useful staining pigment called hennotannic acid which comes in a range of colours from burnt orange to dark red. Henna tattoos used to be very popular only in Asia and Middle Eastern countries, but recently it has become increasingly popular all over the world. 
Henna dyes the outermost skin layer like a self-tanner and looks so much like a permanent tattoo, but there are many ways to remove henna from the skin.

HOW LONG DOES HENNA LAST?

After henna tattoos have been drawn on the skin and let to settle in for some minutes, it is then washed off. The reddish-orange skin begins to oxidize and darken over the next few days, but it will eventually begin to fade away on its own after a few days.

Henna stain should last for 1-2 weeks, but this depends on the area where you applied it and how often you expose that area to water. It wouldn’t last long if you swim frequently or if you exfoliate regularly.
However, if applied in areas that boast of thicker skin, like the soles of your feet, palms of your hands, or your stomach, it could last for more than a week. Also, the longer you leave the paste on, the longer the tattoos will last. Ideally, you should leave it on overnight for best results.

CAN HENNA BECOME PERMANENT?

Henna contains a molecule called lawsone, which binds to your skin’s keratin proteins. This molecule makes the dye darker, making it difficult to wash off until the layer of the skin is shed.

Typically, henna stains should last for a week on the skin, but when you add natural ingredients such as essential oil of eucalyptus, then it could last longer, but this does not make it permanent.
The only way you can make henna stain permanent is to frequently apply fresh henna every week. It is also believed that mixing lemon juice and white sugar and applying it to the henna design can make the stain last longer and appear darker.

HOW TO REMOVE HENNA FROM SKIN

So may be you got a henna tattoo during the summer or at your Asian friend’s wedding and now you are back to work, but it is probably inappropriate to have any form of tattoo at work. Or maybe the stain is beginning to fade and you just want to remove it completely. Well, here is a list of things on how to remove henna from skin, using some items you may have at home.

1. WASH WITH HOT WATER AND ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP

You will need to use hot water, as hot as you can stand, to remove henna from the skin. Run the hot water over the area that is dyed, this helps to open the pores of your skin, then using antibacterial soap, wash off the area. This is a very simple way to remove henna from the skin and it is effective because antibacterial soaps generally contain higher alcohol content that helps to remove henna from the skin after your pores have been opened by the hot water, making it easy to remove henna from the skin.

However, you will need to repeat this several times a day for a better result. Although this method can be very effective, it can also be drying for the skin. So be sure to moisturize immediately after the wash.

2. USE MICELLAR WATER

How to Remove Henna from Skin
How to Remove Henna from Skin pictures

Especially if you have sensitive skin, then micellar water is a good remedy to help you remove henna from the skin. Micellar water is one of the gentlest cleansing agents. It contains unique molecules called micelles. These micelles gently cleanse the skin, breakdown oil, makeup, and other pigments.

To remove henna from the skin with this method, apply the micelles water onto a soft cloth and gently rub it over the henna tattoos.
This is a safe and hydrating method, and so can be used on any part of the body to remove henna from the skin, as it does not cause any potential irritation on the skin.

3. USE BABY OIL OR COCONUT OIL 

This is also a gentle cleansing method. These oils will melt henna pigment, then help to pull out the dye and fade the overall colur of the skin.
One method on how to remove henna from the skin using oil is to add about 3 capsules of any of the oil to a warm bath and soak the area with henna tattoos for 10-20 minutes, before rinsing off.
Another method is to use cotton wools to apply the oil directly on the henna tattoos, allow them to sit for 10-20 minutes so it can dissolve the pigment, then rinse off.

You could also mix coconut oil with raw sugar to use as an exfoliating agent, then rub the mixture gently on your henna tattoos. Let your skin absorb it before washing it off.
Keep in mind that although this may be a gentle option on how to remove henna from the skin, oils do have the potential to clog your pores. So be sure to not just rinse off, but rather wash off thoroughly, especially if you are using it on your face, so that there are no leftovers.

4. EXFOLIATE

Rather than washing off, you could decide to exfoliate, since henna only dyes the top layers of the skin, exfoliating may help remove it faster. However, be cautious of how you exfoliate and the products you use, depending on the area you will be exfoliating.

For instance, for the face, you should go for mild exfoliating products, as the skin of the face is very delicate. You do not want to use products that could easily cause the skin to be irritated.

But when trying to remove henna from areas like your hands or feet, then you can use some stronger exfoliating scrubs such as salt or sugar scrubs, and be sure to moisturize afterward.

5. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

Hydrogen peroxide has been used for teeth whitening and lightening hair, it can also be used to lighten the skin when used to remove henna. Apply diluted hydrogen peroxide with some cotton wool over the area of your henna tattoo. You will need to do this several times before you see results. Please be very careful when handling this chemical or better still consult your doctor before using this chemical agent as it’s very corrosive

6. LEMON JUICE

If you are looking for a more natural approach on how to remove Jenna from the skin, then get your lemons, cut them into slices, and rub them all over the tattooed area for 2-3 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and moisturize afterward. Lemons have been known to naturally lighten the skin and remove stains.

7. SHAVE

Just like exfoliating, shaving also removes dead skin cells, hence, can also help to remove henna from the skin. Using a shaving product of your choice, apply it over the area and shave it off. Apply moisturizer after shaving.

8. HAIR CONDITIONER

Hair conditioners are designed to moisturize the hair, but they can also do the same on your henna tattoos while removing them. Apply a generous layer of hair conditioner over the tattooed area and allow your skin to absorb it for some time before rinsing it off with warm water.

9. OLIVE OIL AND SALT

We have talked about the use of baby oil and coconut oil to remove henna from the skin, but what if you don’t have any of them? Olive oil is a more common household item, and so is salt. So mix a cup of olive oil with 3-4 spoons of salt, use a cotton swab to fully coat your skin with the mixture, then gently scrub off the area with your hands before washing off with a wet washcloth.

The mixture of olive oil and salt helps to loosen the henna stain from your skin while fading the tattoo.
Many of these methods can be drying or irritating, and that is why you are advised to moisturize after using any of them. But should irritation or drying persist even after moisturizing, be sure to stop.

DOES TOOTHPASTE REMOVE HENNA FROM SKIN?

It is being said often that toothpaste can remove henna from the skin, is this true? Yes. 
How does this work?
Soak your hands or feet in warm water for about 6-8 minutes, then apply your toothpaste and allow it to dry for about 10-20 minutes, depending on what brand of toothpaste you use. Then scrub off the area with a washcloth or sponge.

Although you can use any type of toothpaste, it is best if you use plain mint toothpaste and allow it to completely dry before washing it off to ensure better results.

DOES VASELINE REMOVE HENNA FROM SKIN?

Vaseline can be used to darken your henna if you apply it immediately the henna paste dries and begins to fall off, but at the same time, using vaseline or anything containing petroleum in it can help to remove henna from the skin.

BLACK HENNA

We know henna is made from the extract from the leaves of the Lawsonia inermis tree and its stain varied from orange to dark red, so what makes black henna extinguished?
Black henna is the natural henna but contains an extra additive substance called para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which is usually found in hair dyes.

Black henna creates a jet black tattoo that stains the skin in less than 30 minutes, however, within days of application, it could cause extreme skin reactions. This is because as listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), PPD is a highly sensitizing substance, so you may experience itching, skin redness, or blistering from using black henna.

CONCLUSION

Henna cannot be instantly removed from the skin, but with the help of some cleaning and exfoliating agents, you will be able to remove henna from the skin faster.
Natural henna generally should not cause you any harm, so be sure to check for the contents of the henna you intend to purchase, so you don’t put yourself at risk of any allergic reactions.
Also, ensure to moisturize after using any of the methods on how to remove henna from the skin, to prevent skin irritation or dryness.

REFERENCES

1. Melanie R. (2021). Experts Reveal Exactly How to Remove Henna Dye From Skin. www.byrdie.com

2. Rachel N. MSN, CRNA (2019). How to Remove Henna: 7 Easy Methods. www.medicalnewstoday.com

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