An article by Dr. Jastinder K. Gill (Dermatologist & Cosmetologist),Ludhiana
Holi the ancient Indian festival of colors marks the beginning of new season, spring the season of life and new beginnings. The season of flowers, green leaves, freshness, and fragrances. It matches with the full bloom of splendid spring flowers. Colors have an astonishing affect on health. Holi is celebrated by millions using either dry or wet colors on each other. Earlier natural colors made from flowers, leaves and herbs of the season were used. But, over the years, due to commercialization, these natural colors have been replaced by synthetic colors, which contain toxic chemicals. These colors contain heavy metals, acids, alkalis, powdered glass, asbestos, chalk pastes etc. The black paste has lead oxide, green-copper sulphate, and red-mercury sulphite. The shimmering shine given to these colors is by mica and powdered glass. These chemicals are meant for industrial use as in dyeing textiles etc.
SKIN AND HAIR DAMAGE
According to Dr. Jastinder K. Gill, 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.
*The hair damage can be in the form of itching, redness, dryness, scalp infections etc.
*The delayed affects could be loss of hair, and coarse, thin and lusterless hair texture.
Be extra careful for the young ones, new born and infants, as they have very sensitive skin. The pregnant mother should be cautious too, as the chemicals get absorbed from the skin said Dr. Jastinder Gill.
So, beware of these toxic synthetic colors, use natural colors made from flowers and herbs, which have beneficial affect on skin and health.
Few tips to protect the skin-
Holi without colors 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 moisturizer, and then a sunscreen on the face and other exposed parts of the body, even pure coconut or olive oil can be applied on to the body; as it forms a protective barrier and thus protects the skin from the colors.
For extra protection can use lacto calamine on top of the moisturizer and sunscreen
*Do not forget to apply the moisturizer and sunscreen on the lips too. The girls can apply stay on lip color for extra protection and the boys can use 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 the gel on your hair before you go out to play holi, it shall protect your hair.
*The girls can apply nail paint on their nails to protect them from damage.
At the end of the day first thoroughly cleanse your face, body and hair with lots of water to wash away the color. Then use soap and shampoo to cleanse the body and hair.
Moisturize the skin well and condition the hair.
In case of mild irritation or rash, apply calamine lotion. In case of severe allergy or irritation consult your dermatologist.
Holi is an exuberant occasion of goodwill, cheer and merry making. On this auspicious day, let us not dampen the festive mood by exposing ourselves to toxic chemical colors. Let us vow to motivate ourselves and others to say No to chemicals, but celebrate and play with environmental and human friendly natural colors. Wishing you all a colorful Holi with natural and safe colors.