Holi 2022: Celebrating colours with care
Kickstart the Holi festivities while looking after your lungs, skin and hair health. Here’s your expert approved guide
Holi is tomorrow and all of us are looking forward to soaking ourselves in the spirit of colours, savouring gujiyas, drinking thandai, dancing our hearts to Balam Pichkari, throw water balloons and enjoying the wonderful merriment of colours. However, there are some things that need attention amid the celebrations. We bring to you the ultimate care guide this Holi.
While everyone else enjoys getting smeared with colours, it can be a tough time for people suffering from respiratory diseases. Also, on the day of Holi, colours used are made of toxic substances like copper sulphate, aluminum bromide, mercury sulphide which are harmful for eyes, skin and lung as well. “These artificial colours are mostly dry and when smeared on each other, some particle remains in the air and makes its way to our lungs,” says Dr Sanket Jain, consultant pulmonologist with Masina Hospital, Mumbai.
Protect your lungs
Whether a person has a lung problem or not, one should only use Gulal which contains mainly corn-starch blended with FDA approved dyes and strictly avoid using colours with chemicals and heavy metals.
“Holi comes at a time when there is a changing season and pollen grains are in the air and Asthma exacerbations happen around this time. Most important is to continue taking all your prescribed medications and consult your doctor prior to Holi,” suggests Dr Vikas Mittal, Senior Pulmonologist, Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi.
Wear a dust mask and use natural colours only
“Blowing and cleaning nose thoroughly twice a day,” advises Dr Arunesh Kumar, HOD & Senior Consultant- Pulmonology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram He adds, “For asthma patients, it is important to take a preventer inhaler to avoid asthma attacks on Holi. Use of N95 mask, compliance to your medications and avoiding dry colour if history of allergic lung diseases are vital.”
Gulal made of flour, turmeric, flowers and other natural ingredients should be used. “Throwing chemical colors in the air may increase the problem of respiratory disorders also, fragrance in these colors can cause allergies to people who are asthmatic,” says Dr. Manav Manchanda, Director Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Asian Hospital Faridabad.
Pre-Holi skin and hair care
While it is a lot of fun to celebrate, the harsh chemicals in the colours can be tough on your skin. Even if you use organic colours, you should also protect your skin from sun damage and prepare it so that the colours come off gently.
“Before you head out to play this year, make sure your skin is well hydrated with a decent moisturiser, top it off with a waterproof sunscreen, apply it 30 minutes before leaving the house to help prevent skin damage from heat, sun, and colours,” says Dr Niketa Sonavane, Celebrity Dermatologist and founder of Ambrosia Aesthetics, Mumbai.
The more you are covered the less are the chances of colours damaging your skin. “Wear full sleeves, covering clothes. A physical barrier can give your skin the best protection,” says Dr. Neelam Gulati, Head of Department of Cosmetology, Ujala Cygnus Rainbow Hospital, Agra
Apply coconut oil on your scalp and hair as it acts as a barrier and the colours do not absorb. Women can tie their hair up in a bun to minimize exposure. “Give your hair and scalp a good massage with any good hair serum or oil which is rich in plant nutrients and devoid of chemicals before you step out,” says Madhumeeta Dhar, hair care expert, Plantas.
“Apply petroleum jelly underneath the covered parts of the body, including the skin folds to form a protective barrier against the colour,” suggests Dr. Nishita Ranka Bagmar, dermatologist, Dr. Nishita’a Clinic for Skin, Hair & Aesthetics
Sunflower seed oil is easily available in many homes nowadays. It can also be applied on the face before playing holi and would suit all skin types. Sunflower seeds contain antioxidants and protect the skin from the drying and damaging effect of holi colours. It will also help to remove colours easily.
“Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamins and minerals and actually protects the skin from getting tanned easily. Before playing holi, apply almond oil and massage it into the skin. It also helps the skin to hold moisture and adds a glow. It can help to lighten dark patches and blemishes,”suggests beauty expert Shahnaz Husain
Shampooing your hair just a day before Holi is probably not a very good idea.
“It will remove moisture from your hair and make it vulnerable to breakage when exposed to chemical colors. But if you cannot avoid shampooing, make sure to oil your hair post shampoo,” says Ritika Jayaswal haircare expert, Nourish Mantra.
Nails also need prepping pre-holi to prevent stubborn stains. “Apply a layer of oil on your nail bed and paint your nails with a thin layer of nail polish,” says Dr. Uktra Namshum, Clinical Dermatologist, MBBS. Msc. Clinical Dermatology.
Dr. Noopur Jain, MD Dermatologist, suggests ice therapy. “Just before you step out to rejoice this festival of colours, you can take a few ice cubes and gently run them through your face. This helps in closing the open pores and prevents the chemical based colours from sleeping into the layers of your skin,“ adds Jain.
Apply Macadamia vegetable oil as it comes with protective, soothing, nourishing, moisturising, softening, anti-radical and anti-ageing properties, it also protects and stimulates micro-circulation, and acts as a lymph tonic.” This can be used as a base for essential oil. It will facilitate skin absorption and limit their irritant effects. Massage it all over your face and body before heading out to play. Please avoid contact with eyes,” suggests Karina Kapoor, Brand Manager, Puressentiel India.
Post-Holi skin and hair care
Try home-made and natural ubtans. Instead of using harsh cleansers to get rid of Holi colours, consider ubtans and natural oils instead. “Utans are gentle scrubs that won’t irritate your skin further. use coconut oil to take off wet colours from the body. Try a cleanser after that and use a pore-tightening toner followed by a bright moisturizer, preferably something with Vitamin C,” says Vaishali Sharda, skincare expert, Mellow Herbals.
Besan and curd together makes for a great homemade pack for cleansing and moisturizing
After playing Holi, use cleansing milk to make the colours come off much easier. Once the colours are removed follow with a proper moisturizer to banish any dryness.
Homemade packs can help the skin regain its PH balance and radiance. Apply a paste of ripe papaya, add lemon juice and a spoonful of milk powder and apply evenly on your face. Leave it for 20 minutes and then rinse.
Rinse your hair with cold water to let the colors wash off before using a mild shampoo to cleanse your scalp effectively
Clean hair with moderate pressure and use salicylic acid based shampoos to remove the colour, dirt, mud and other debris off the hair shafts. “Do not rub the skin or hair vigorously while cleansing. If the colour still does not come off, try removing it with curd and lemon,” says Dr Saurabh Shah, Dermatologist, Bhatia Hospital Mumbai.
Cut those unpleasant split ends. “Trim your split ends to get rid of the damage that may restrict the growth of your hair. Avoid coloring your hair for at least a week after Holi,” says Dr. Amrendra Kumar; Consultant Dermatologist and Hair Transplant Surgeon.
Get rid of the scalp irritation by rinsing it with vinegar water. Simply mix two tablespoons of vinegar in a mug of water and rinse your head post shampoo.
Dr. Merin Liza, Co founder, Green And Beige, adds, “It’s important to use body butter as it moisturises and makes your skin smoother and softer. It has a lamellar structure that mimics skin to allow botanical actives to penetrate the pores, deep-hydrate, and repair your skin. This Shea, Tucuma and Mango butter-rich Body Butter has a combination of Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, and the ‘resurrection plant extract’ to help keep your body skin hydrated and accelerate skin renewal during harsh winters or summers. Perfect way to calm your skin which would have been subjected to irritants during Holi.”
Vineet Kapur, founder and MD O3+, says, “Take care of your post-Holi care before you go out to have a good time. Your post-holi cleaning will be a breeze, and the protection will perform wonders for your skin’s long-term health once you’ve buried yourself in this protective layer of skincare prior to Holi preparation.”
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Apply a layer of cold cream or coconut oil around the eyes so that they can be protected. “Do not wear contact lenses during Holi. If the colour goes into the eye, it is deposited in the contact lenses, where it can seep out and cause more serious chemical harm over time. Furthermore, any colour on the lenses can discolour them permanently, forcing their removal,” says Dr. Parinita Kaur, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka
Wearing or removing these lenses with colour-stained fingers could also cause chemical damage to the eye. Furthermore, filthy fingers can carry infections to the eye, which is particularly problematic for contact lens wearers. “Wearing sunglasses while taking part in Holi will protect your eyes from the colour as well as the coloured water. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation now that summer is here. Incase of any rashes, redness or itching, please seek medical attention,” adds Kaur.
Staying cool and hydrated
It is essential to stay hydrated to beat the heat. Drinking lots of juices and never being dehydrated will save you from a heat stroke. “Holi drinks such as Thandai and Kaanji act as great coolants and they fill you up very easily. They are a great source of antioxidants too. Thandai, with its milk flavour, has the goodness of almonds, watermelon seeds, fennel seeds and even rose petals,” adds Celebrity Nutritionist Shweta Shah.
Also stay active during the day. Do not sleep immediately after having your food. “Resting and sleeping will worsen the effects of the indulgent food you had during the day. Minimum of two hours gap is recommended between eating and sleep,” says Dr Swathi Reddy, certified diet counsellor, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore.
Eat right this Holi
It is time to gorge on gujiyas, thandai and lots of sweets and snacks. It is difficult to resist such delicacies but it is important to eat moderately.
Do not overeat any sweets or snacks as it will add up to the overall calorie intake. “Try preparing food items at home so that the ingredients can be modified into healthy ones. Replace the maida with whole wheat flour and sugar with organic jaggery. Use skimmed / low fat milk to prepare thandai,” says Shraddha Gadit, senior nutritionist, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute.
It is very easy to get tempted and go for an extra serving of your delectable sweets but be mindful while eating. “The thumb rule is – to taste everything but stay away from eating too much. Keep a check on your calorie consumption and instead of a full serving, try to take a spoonful to satisfy your taste buds,” says Swatee Sandhan, Senior Dietitian, Jupiter Hospital, Pune.
Have a healthy meal beforehand. “Before going full-throttle on festive mode, eat a salad or a bowl filled with oats which will keep you from starving or overconsumption during the Holi celebration. It will help you to feel fuller for longer,” says Avni Kaul, Nutritionist, Nutri Activania.
“Stay away from sugary cocktails and mocktails - ask for a honey alternative instead,” believes Shriya Wadhwa, nutrition expert, Zama Organics.
Instead of indulging in unhealthy delicacies one should opt for healthy options this would help achieve the goal of eating right during Holi. “A few healthy options that I’d recommend would be, sprouts bhel, moong dal chilla and hot shakarkandi chaat,” says Seema Jindal Jajodia, nutrition expert, Nourish Organics.
Make sure to have a well-balanced nutrient-dense breakfast rich in antioxidants & vitamin D that consists of healthy fats, protein and fiber, suggests Veronica Kumra, Nutritionist. “This will work as a protective shield for your lungs and your hunger. And make it easier for you to be around food & alcohol and not eat/drink it,” adds Kumra.