On Holi, prepare well to avoid damage to skin and hair | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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On Holi, prepare well to avoid damage to skin and hair

Enthusiasm often overtakes good sense on Holi and toxic chemicals used in colours play a spoiler. Dyes prepared from harmful substances such as acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis are fast replacing traditional herbs and flowers.

art and culture Updated: Mar 16, 2014 23:36 IST
Rhythma Kaul

Enthusiasm often overtakes good sense on Holi and toxic chemicals used in colours play a spoiler.

Dyes prepared from harmful substances such as acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis are fast replacing traditional herbs and flowers.

These chemicals not only damage the skin and cause redness, blisters, flaking and extreme itching, but at times can lead to serious complications such as vision problems, breathlessness, respiratory problems etc.

“Apart from superficial redness, itching and rash, these can cause serious injuries to the skin from scratching,” said Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, a Delhi-based dermatologist.

“Dry skin amplifies the effect of harmful chemicals as the skin layer allows the colour to penetrate easily,” said dermatologist Dr Amit Luthra from Ishira Skin Clinic.

Hair is equally prone to damage, with chemicals making it brittle and extremely dry if the colours are not washed out quickly. “The chemicals in the colours make hair dry and they tend to break easily,” said Dr Anup Dhir, senior cosmetic surgeon at Apollo Hospital.

Eye specialists also warn against causing serious damage to eyes in case precaution is not taken.

“The chemicals can damage your eye permanently, so it is advisable to wear protective glasses while playing holi. Wash your eyes clean with cold water and if the irritation persists, see an eye specialist,” said Dr Mahipal Sachdev, chairman, Centre for Sight.

The best one can do is to take precautions while playing with colours.

As far as possible, play with organic or home-made colours. If you must play with readymade colours, oil your skin and hair, wear full-sleeved clothes and try to stay in shade so that the colours don’t dry up and become difficult to remove.

“You’ll do fine if you make a checklist of things you must do before and after Holi to help your skin and hair survive the chemicals, colour and everything in between,” says Dr Neetu Saini, skin specialist, Les Cosmedics Laser Skin Clinic.