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Don’t let harmful chemicals hamper Holi celebrations!

Just take a few precautions & enjoy J

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Holi, the vibrant festival of colors, is celebrated at the advent of spring all over India. This time Holi is being celebrated on 2nd March with a long festive weekend. The long weekend makes it perfect to have a gala time with friends and family.

Holi comes alive with its jubilant colors. Traditionally, spring flowers were used as a source of colours for Holi.  But with time artificial colours have replaced these natural ingredients. The colours used presently are artificial dyes and have detrimental effects on our body and on the environment. 

The Holi fervor is incomplete without colours, but these colours are made from harmful chemicals like lead, glass pieces and other alkaline materials. The markets are full of various packaged and loose colours, dyes and sprays. People are purchasing these open and unhygienic powders and wet colours in least regard to their skin and health. Toxic chemicals in these colours include mercuric oxide, auramine, rhodamine B, chromium Iodide, copper sulphate and lead. These toxic chemicals lead to skin diseases, eye infection, temporary blindness, renal failure, asthma, birth defects in unborn children and skin cancer.

So here are some tips to help yourself protect from the harmful effects of colours and enjoy the festival to the fullest

  • Choose natural organic colours and encourage your friends to do so too.
  • Before playing Holi apply mustard oil or coconut oil all over the body. This helps to get rid of the colours easily and also moisturize your skin. Ensure oiling at skin folds, behind the ear, between finger tips, near finger nails.
  • Application of Vaseline and foundation stops the penetration of colour into the skin so that you don’t have to walk red faced for the entire week. Avoid dark colours like purple, green and dark pink as they contain high chemical content and are difficult to remove . Do not expose yourself to sunlight for long after applying water colours it can cause skin irritation.
  • If anyone forcefully applies permanent colour or black grease, avoid it on face and try as far as possible to get their hand prints on your clothes.
  • Wear nail enamel so that the colours cannot go inside the nail bed.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen after oiling your body, and make sure it is gel based, waterproof and of SPF 25. If you’re in the sun for more than 3 hours, remember to re-apply the sunscreen.
  • Wear protective glasses while playing Holi. The eyes are extremely sensitive, and the chemical content in the colours can lead to irritation, causing allergy.  Wash your eyes clean with cold water and see an eye specialist if the irritation persists after few hours of Holi. Also splash eyes with clean water multiple times. 
  • Also, if any open wound or cuts are there on body before Holi then band aid or bandage should be done prior to playing Holi so as to avoid entry and absorption of the harmful chemicals from it.
  • Keep your hair tied instead of leaving them loose, this will prevent hair fall. Also hair can be protected by using conditioners and olive oil.
  • Wash off your body soon as the colours contain high lead content that may mix with blood and cause problem. Standing under running water for 5-10 minutes and do not scrub or scratch aggressively.
  • Use liquid soap gently and home remedies on the stubborn colours. Applying lemon juice, curd and sandalwood mixture. Adding turmeric and white flour will also have good results.

 By: Dr. Kanika Sharma

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