Holi – the spring festival of colours – is finally here. But even as you get mentally prepared to be drenched in colour by family and friends, it’s extremely important that you also protect yourself from toxic colours. Gone are the days when colours were made from flowers and herbs. With organic colours being hard to come by, it only makes sense that we safeguard our skin and hair from any damage while playing Holi.
“Colours nowadays are made up of ingredients like engine oil, diesel, acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis which damage the skin very badly. This can result in serious skin conditions like eczema, redness, blisters, extreme redness and the flaking of skin,” explains Dr. Nivedita Dadu, a dermatologist at the Skinology Skin and Hair Clinic. She advises taking the following precautions to minimize the potential damage caused by such toxic chemicals.
What you can do before playing Holi
1) In order to prevent harmful chemicals from penetrating your skin, make sure to apply oil or moisturizer on your skin before you start playing with the colours.
2) Don’t forget to wear waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more before stepping out in the sun.
3) Keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking lots of water and juices. This prevents dehydration, which can otherwise cause your skin to get dry and become more vulnerable to harsh colours.
4) Also take care to oil your hair well with either coconut oil or olive oil so that your hair texture remains unaffected. An even better option would be to cover your hair with a scarf or a bandana.
5) Remember to dab some oil behind your ears and on your ear lobes and nails as these are the points where colours tend to settle easily.
6) Wear an outfit that covers most of your body and avoid heavy fabrics like denim that cannot be dried easily.
7) Those who wear contact lenses should not do so when they go out to play as lenses can easily absorb the colours, which can result in eye irritation. Wear glasses and keep wiping them clean from time to time.
When playing with Holi colours
1) Avoid sitting in the hot sun with the colours still on your face and body. This makes the colours even more difficult to wash off later. Try to sit under a shade even if you are outdoors.
2) Use more of red or pink colours, which can easily be washed off. Gaudy colours like purple, green, yellow and orange have more harmful chemicals in them and should not be used as far as possible.
Post-Holi skin and hair care routine
1) Deeply cleanse and condition your hair. Apply a hair mask after 2-3 days to treat the damage done to your hair texture.
2) Do not rub the skin vigorously with soap to get rid of the colours. Use a mild cleanser instead and follow this up with a soothing moisturizer, preferably a type meant for sensitive skin.
3) You can also apply a granular scrub on the body and face to get rid of the colours thoroughly.
4) Do not bleach, shave, wax or go for facials or clean ups the following week.
5) Do not use kerosene, petrol and spirits to remove the stains as that can dry up your skin.
6) Treat your skin with a mixture of sea salt, glycerin, and a few drops of aroma oil. This natural beauty mask has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.