Bright colours, water balloons, lavish gujiyas and catchy songs are the ingredients of a perfect Holi, but the harsh chemicals used in colours can turn the festive mood into a real spoiler.
Traditionally, the festival was all about naturally made colours from flowers and herbs. But with time, dyes have replaced these natural ingredients. These are usually prepared from harmful substances such as acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis.
“The chemicals can cause itching and rashes, and serious injury to the skin upon scratching,” said Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, a Delhi-based dermatologist.
Experts say these chemicals when used in large amounts can seep into your skin, not only damaging it but also leading to serious lifestyle issues.
“Dry skin allows these chemicals to penetrate easily,” Cosmetic Skin and Homeo Clinic cosmetologist Dr Karuna Malhotra said.
The toxins used in colours can result in a range of diseases, including skin allergies, eye irritation and blindness.
“The chemicals can damage your eye permanently. It is advisable to wear protective glasses while playing Holi,” said Dr Mahipal Sachdev, chairman, Centre for Sight. “Wash your eyes clean with cold water and see an eye specialist if the irritation persists,” Dr Sachdev advised.
It is difficult to make out differences between a natural colour and a dye. Taking precautions is, therefore, necessary.
Use home-made colours if possible. If you must play with readymade colours, oil your skin and hair, wear full-sleeve clothes and try to avoid direct sunlight so that the colours don’t dry and become tough to remove.
“A checklist of things that you must do before and after Holi to keep your skin and hair looking their best is a must,” adds Dr Neetu Saini, skin specialist, Les Cosmedics Laser Skin Clinic.