Life is colourful, enjoy it.
Holi is the ancient Indian festival of colours marks the beginning of spring. Spring is the season of flowers, green leaves, freshness, and fragrances. Mother Nature is showcasing its rainbow of colors. Colours have an astonishing affect on health. Not only that, it brings friends and family together, it’s time for bonding, brings togetherness, there’s joy and happiness in the air.
Holi is celebrated by millions using either dry or wet colours. Earlier, natural colours made from flowers, leaves and herbs were used. But, over the years, due to commercialisation, these natural colours have been replaced by synthetic ones, which contain toxic chemicals. Also cost factor plays an important role, as the natural/organic colors are more expensive, hence the shift towards synthetic colors. Moreover the synthetic colours are more easily available. These colours contain heavy metals, acids, alkalis, powdered glass, asbestos, chalk pastes etc. Black paste has lead oxide, green-copper sulphate and red-mercury sulphite. The shimmering shine given to these colours is by mica and powdered glass. These chemicals are meant for industrial use as in dyeing textiles etc.
How Colors of Holi Can Affect Skin and Hair
It is fun to play with colours and water, but the harmful effects could lead to skin, hair, respiratory and eye problems.
These chemicals create havoc on the skin and hair, in the form of allergy, rash, irritation, infection and much more. The symptoms may vary from mild irritation, dryness to severe form of irritant dermatitis burning, itching and allergic dermatitis.
These chemicals can lead to skin cancer, over the period of time.
The hair damage can be in the form of itching, dryness, scalp infections etc. The delayed affects could be coarse, thin and lusterless hair texture. If the hair damage is severe, it can lead to hair loss, sometimes, few chemicals can cause scarring alopecia, were the hair are lost forever.
If you have active acne and you are on treatment with AHA/BHA or retinol, I would advise you not to play with colors. The skin irritation caused with the unnatural colors can lead to new breakouts. You can discuss with your dermatologist and if possible, stop applying the AHA/BHA and retinoids 2-3 days before Holi and also do not use it for at least for 5 days, post Holi.
Be extra careful for with young ones, newborns and infants, as they have very sensitive skin.
People with already existing skin and hair problems to name a few like eczema, atopic dermatitis, acne and psoriasis should be extra cautious while playing Holi. Ideally they should avoid playing with colors and water or restrict themselves by just putting a tikka on their forehead, as token of celebrations and festivities.
It’s advisable for pregnant women to be extra careful, they should use only natural and organic colors. A big No to synthetic chemical colors. The pre and post care of skin and hair as mentioned below to be followed.
People with respiratory problems or asthma should be extra careful, while playing with colors, as they can lead to respiratory distress, like difficulty in breathing, sneezing. It can cause aggravation of asthma and allergic rhinitis, allergic sinusitis.
Skin and Hair Care: Pre & Post Care Tips
Pre Care Tips
Holi without colours is meaningless. So, the best way to enjoy Holi is to follow these simple skin and hair care steps.
- Before going out to play, apply a moisturiser, and then a sunscreen on the face and other exposed parts of the body, even pure coconut oil or olive oil can be applied to the body, as it forms a protective barrier and thus protects the skin from colours. For extra protection use lacto calamine on top of the moisturiser and sunscreen.
- Do not forget to apply moisturiser and sunscreen on lips. Girls can apply lip colour for extra protection and boys can use a lip balm.
- Protect your hair by applying leave-on conditioner; even simple coconut/olive oil can give good protection to your hair. This is the only time; I recommend the use of hair gel. Apply gel or oil on your hair before you go out to play Holi, it shall protect your hair.
- Wear clothes which cover all exposed areas as arms and legs.
- Use cap, scarf or hat to protect your hair.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Do not wear your contact lenses while playing Holi.
- Girls can apply nail paint on their nails to protect them from damage.
- Stop applying any retinol or AHA/BHA based products even night creams at least 2 days before Holi .
- Cleanse: At the end of the day first thoroughly cleanse your face, body and hair with lots of water to wash away the colour. Then use soap and shampoo to cleanse the body and hair. Do not rub vigorously. Be gentle. You can use a hair conditioner after the shampoo
- Moisturise: Moisturise the skin well and condition the hair.
- Treat: In case of mild irritation or rash, apply calamine lotion. In case of severe allergy or irritation consult your dermatologist. In case of eye irritation, splash water. Do not rub the eyes as it can cause abrasions. If the eye sight is blurred, then visit the ophthalmologist.
Enjoy the festival of colors.