Holi is here!
It’s the vibrant festival of colours, celebrated with great joy and gusto. The throw of ‘gulal’, the splash of colours, children playfully running around with ‘pichkaris’ and tossing water filled balloons, family and friends throwing buckets full of water and drenching one another in shimmering tubs of coloured waters; the singing, dancing, mischief; the bhang and the sweets - so much fun
The aftermath, however, is not so much fun though. It can be quite unpleasant for some people as they end up suffering from skin allergies, hair discolouration, eye irritation and other ailments.
Traditionally, Holi colours used to be made from various herbs and spring flowers. Interestingly, as they were made from natural sources, the colours also had therapeutic value. However, with the advent of industrialization, these natural sources of obtaining colours were slowly replaced by chemicals and industrial dyes. Such dyes are toxic in nature and are known to cause serious damage to the skin, eye and ear as well. There have been reported cases of dermatitis (skin rashes), dryness of hair and skin, itching and ENT problems especially post Holi.
Does that mean one should not play Holi? Why not? Only few precautions need to be observed
Here are a few tips to enjoy your Holi and stay safe:
Minimal exposure of the skin:
Wear clothing to cover as much of your skin as possible to protect it from synthetic colours. These colours contain ingredients like mercury sulfide in red, copper sulfate in green, lead oxide in black colour that can penetrate your skin and cause health problems.
2. Colours to avoid:
Stay away from bright purple, yellow, orange and green colours because they tend to contain more harmful ingredients.
3. Use Herbal or Prepare homemade colours:
Use turmeric, marigold flowers and different herbal variations to prepare therapeutic colours.
4. Apply body oil before playing Holi:
Apply body oil or lotion generously before stepping out. Doing so will help you to get rid of the colours easily post Holi. The oil on your skin will not allow the colours to have a grip and stick on.
5. Apply Sunscreen lotion:
Use a waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage.
6. Protect your eyes:
Remove contact lenses. Wear sunglasses. It protects you from the sun’s glare and also the various colours that may enter your eyes. Should colour enter your eye, rinse them with cold water.
7. Wear a cap / headgear before heading out:
Hair can become very dry and brittle after coming in contact with the colours. Hence, massage your scalp with oil before heading out and put on a cap or wear a head gear to protect your hair.
8. Use a mild soap to get off the colours and no kerosene, petrol to remove stains:
Harsh soaps, shampoos make the skin drier. Instead use a mild soap. Kerosene, petrol and other spirits are not advised to remove any stains either.
9. Don’t go outdoors if you prone to certain illness:
If you are asthmatic or prone to dust and pollen avoid playing outdoors.
10. Avoid eating with coloured hands:
You can ingest the toxic colours (especially lead oxide) from your fingers. Hence, you should avoid eating with coloured hands.
11. Keep yourself hydrated:
Drinking water throughout prevents the chemicals in colours from being absorbed by the skin. It also helps to flush out the toxins.
12. Readily Accessible First Aid:
In case of itching, apply soothing calamine lotion or gel. If allergy gets severe and uncontrollable, consult a GP online immediately.
Holi is not just a festival of colours. It spreads love, harmony and togetherness. So simply take these precautions and rejoice with your friends, family and loved ones!
After all, why miss out on all the fun?