Holi brings along vibrant and festive fervour but there are chances that it could cause unwanted skin problems.
In the pursuit of splashing and smearing colours on one another, people often ignore harmful chemicals that can affect one's skin.
According to Sachin Dhawan, a senior dermatologist at Umkal Hospital, Gurgaon, there is an increase in the number of patients who come to him during Holi.
"Every year I get around 20 patients on the day of Holi who complain of extreme skin dryness and allergic reactions like rashes and skin burns. This happens as a result of synthetic colours, which have an adverse impact on their skin."
The doctor also indicated that in rare cases, people might also become vulnerable to developing skin cancer in the long run.
To avoid this, Hema Pant, a dermatologist with Kaya Skin Clinic, a skincare solutions centre, advises that a person should apply a protective barrier before stepping out on Holi to prevent the skin from being directly exposed to harmful colours.
"A person should ideally apply a coat of oil or cream to form a barrier between their skin and the colour. And for even better results, he/she should apply talcum powder over this protective layer," Pant said.
"The lips and the under eye area are among the most sensitive parts which can be affected by the colours," she explained and added that a person should use under eye gel and make up a base to guard them.
However, the best precaution, according to her is the use of natural colours.
Pant informed IANS that if a person plays Holi for six to seven hours at a stretch, he/she is vulnerable to acquire irritants such as burns, blisters or contract allergy, mild discolouration (which is reversible) and acne.
Shobha Sehgal, senior vice president, VLCC Health Care Ltd said: "In case of any allergic reaction to any colours like itching, burning or rashes, the concerned person must use calamine and seek advice from a specialist at the earliest."
To protect the nails, Sehgal advises the use of Vaseline around and under them. "Lubricating nails, feet and skin in advance with Vaseline will help form a protective layer that prevents the toxins from seeping into the skin," she said.
Though people are aware of the hazards of playing Holi, they continue to do so. For such people, specialists recommend that they should first take a 15-minute bath with mild or cold water sans soap.
"The dry colour should first be wiped off and then allowed to flow with plain running water," explained Pant. She added that it is essential to use a mild cleanser thereafter but one should not rub it aggressively or it can aggravate an underlying allergy. The use of scrub should also be avoided," she suggested.
Pant indicated that if the colour does not wear off easily, it should be left to discolour on its own, which it eventually will over time.