Henna and Children/Infants

Is it safe to henna children? Is it safe to henna babies?

Children, sometimes. Infants, never! There are a couple of disorders that can make henna dangerous for babies, children, and adults: Hyperbilirubinemia and G6PD. In cultures where is is done often, children are generally tested for these disorders, but here in the USA, we are not.

Hyperbilirubinemia and Henna

Hyperbilirubinemia can cause severe anemic reactions in children exposed to henna. The younger the child, the more severe the reaction. Hyperbilirubinemia is a disorder where there is too much bilirubin in the blood. Babies are not able to quickly get rid of bilirubin and can cause a build up of bilirubin. Small amounts of bilirubin are not a problem, but large amounts of bilirubin can cause, seizures, brain damage, or even, in rare cases, death.

In an infant, henna can cause bilirubin to be released. If that child has hyperbilirubinemia, their little livers cannot process this and the results can be devastating. Healthy children are no longer susceptible to this by 3 years old, when their livers have matured to a higher degree.

If a baby was jaundiced at any time, do not henna them.

G6PD and Henna

G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency is a disorder than causes anemia. People, both adults and children that have G6PD deficiency  should not use henna. The lawsone in the henna will strongly oxidize G6PD deficient blood cells and can cause a haemolytic crisis in both children and adults. People with G6PD should also avoid fava beans, mothballs, some food colorings, and aspirin along with a list of other items.

General Information About Henna and Children & Babies

Babies and children do no have fully developed immune systems or organs. Their skin is very fragile and a direct conduit to the blood. In addition to henna, essential oils are hard-core and should NOT be used on infants. If you elect to do henna on children, use a mild oil such as lavender.

  • If doing henna on anyone that may be sensitive, only use henna you’ve mixed yourself.
  • NEVER henna infants.
  • Be careful of children between 3-6. I do not personally henna children under 6.
  • If doing henna on children, use a mild essential oil such as lavender.
  • Do not do henna on anyone, adult or child, with G6PD deficiency.
  • Review your ingredient list with everyone before hennaing them.