Holi is one of the most colourful and vibrant festivals of India. And while the bhang and gujiyas, the singing and dancing, the mischief and drenching in colours are great fun, the aftermath can sometimes be unpleasant, with some people left suffering from skin rashes, eye allergies and discoloration of hair.
Holi colours were traditionally made from herbs and spring flowers; in fact, such colours actually had some therapeutic value. However, chemicals and industrial dyes, some of them toxic, slowly replaced flowers and herbs. These can cause some serious damage to skin, and discoloration, dermatitis, abrasion, irritation, itching, rashes, eczema and dryness are some of the common reactions reported by dermatologists post-Holi.
Stay safe this year by keeping these tips in mind before stepping out to play Holi.
1. On the eve of Holi keep yourself and your kids at a safe distance from the Holi bonfire.
2. Your skin is your largest organ and it's important to protect it from synthetic colours, which often contain ingredients like lead oxide in black colour, mercury sulfide in red, aluminium bromide in silver and copper sulfate in green. These can easily penetrate the skin to cause various health problems. Hence, wear clothes that cover as much of your body as possible.
Avoid bright purple, green, yellow and orange colours as these are more likely to contain harmful ingredients.
3. Try to make colours at home using turmeric, marigold flowers or herbal colours; else buy herbal formulations. Use more of light red or pink colours, which look good and can easily be taken off. Avoid bright purple, green, yellow and orange colours as these are more likely to contain harmful ingredients.
4. Apply a generous amount of moisturizing lotion or oil on your face, arms, legs and any exposed part of skin. Use a waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage.
5. Hair can turn brittle, frizzy and extremely dry due to Holi colours. Shield your hair from harmful chemicals, dirt and dust by massaging the scalp and hair with oil. Wear a cap or hat before heading out to play Holi.
6. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses and remove contact lenses before venturing outdoors. If colour enters the eyes immediately rinse them with cold water.
7. Avoid using harsh soaps and shampoo to get rid of the colour. Use a mild soap for your skin and baby shampoo followed by conditioner for your hair. Avoid using kerosene, petrol and spirits to remove stains, as they will further dry the skin.
8. Immediately wash off colour from any body part that experiences irritation or itching. Apply a soothing calamine lotion or aloe gel and avoid sunlight as it increases irritation.
9. Avoid playing outdoors with dry colours if you are prone to asthma or are allergic to dust and pollen.
10. The official drink of Holi, bhang, when consumed in large quantities can lead to increased blood pressure and a hike in heart rate. Drink in moderation and avoid mixing it with alcohol.
Avoid using harsh soaps and shampoo to get rid of the colour. Use a mild soap for your skin and baby shampoo followed by conditioner for your hair.
11. Respect our natural resources and avoid wasting too much water. Avoid throwing water balloons from a distance as they may injure someone.
12. Respect all forms of life and avoid putting colour on street animals and pets. It is extremely harmful to them and amounts to cruelty.
13. Stay hydrated by drinking water before, after and during the festivities. Water keeps the harmful chemicals from being absorbed into the skin and also helps get rid of excess toxins.
14. Avoid using your fingers to eat to avoid Holi colours from getting into your system through food. The changing weather conditions during this time of the year could make you more susceptible to colds and cough. Avoid drinks and food that are too cold. Go for lukewarm water instead.
15. Replenish and rejuvenate your skin after the festivities with lots of moisturizer or a homemade face pack of gram flour (besan) and curd or cream (malai). An oil massage (coconut, olive or mustard oil), plenty of water and a good amount of rest should have you in good form sooner than later.
Wishing you all a very colourful, safe and healthy Holi.
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