Lawsone – The Henna Dye Molecule

Lawsone – The Henna Dye Molecule lawsone moleculeIntroduction to Lawsone

Henna can dye skin, hair and other materials because of the high content of Lawsone, a tannin, which dyes other substances through the way in which it binds well to protein, particularly the keratin in skin and hair.

Lawsone has a number of other names, the official chemical name is: 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, and it is also known as hennotannic acid, or henna.

How does Lawsone work?

The process by which henna binds to keratin is called the Michael Reaction / Addition, and it results in a strong permanent stain that lasts until the skin or hair is shed.

Is Lawsone found in any other places?

Lawsone is also found in jewelweed (Impatiens balsamina) which has a wide range of important medical properties.

How long has henna been used?

Henna containing artefacts have been found in relics 5,000 plus years ago, including the hennaed fingertips of mummies in ancient Egypt.

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