Sneha Singh shares cues about how to emerge unscathed from the harmful side-effects of Holi

We know you can’t wait for Thursday to groove with your gang to the beats of ‘Balam Pichkari…’! Wet bodies smeared in colourful hues from head-to-toe, people bonding over food and festivities fills the entire atmosphere with merriment. Gone are the days when people played Holi with flower petals and natural colours.

Now markets are flooded with adulterated and artificial colours infused with toxic chemicals which could take a toll on your health. Mercury, Lead oxide, Copper Sulphate, Chromium, Zinc are some of the chemicals used to make Holi colours. Worry not though—we have got you covered with a fool-proof Holi regimen curated by experts to help ward-off the evil effects of Holi colours…

Oil it up

Oiling is the key to ward-off skin troubles. “Use a barrier cream or mustard oil in generous quantity on all exposed parts of body. Let the skin absorb it for 20-30 minutes. Then apply waterproof sunscreen,” suggests celebrity dermatologist Dr Apratim Goel,  MD, Cosemtic Dermatologist & Laser Surgeon. You can replace mustard oil with coconut oil if you hate the latter’s smell. If you are picking coconut oil then apply it on the  entire body and later lather on sunscreen.

Shield yourself

‘Holi’gans, are you ready?

After when you are done with your oiling, protect your body with a good moisturiser. Dr Shubha Dharmana, dermatologist at Lejeune Medspa, Hyderabad asserts, “Use a good moisturising lotion or cream all over the body. Rub a generous amount into the drier areas like elbows, knees where dry skin can accumulate more colour. This forms a protective barrier on the skin to prevent the penetration of colours.”

Hair care

The chemicals in Holi colours can leave your hair dry and damaged. Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, MD Skin, consultant dermatologist at Dr Trasi’s Clinic & La Piel recommends, “Use coconut oil or a mix of oils like castor, almond, olive and coconut oils before and after the festival. It might not be a bad idea to leave the oil in. This will prevent the residue of dyes from sticking to your hair and scalp. Braid your hair or tie it up. Loose hair will retain a lot more colour which takes longer to wash out and more shampoo, which could dry the scalp.” “However, if you don’t want to step out with oiled hair, blend style with functionality by using hair gel,” suggests Dr Apratim.  

‘Holi’gans, are you ready?

Nail it

All Holi revellers struggle with the ugly colours getting stuck inside nails and skin for weeks later. Dry colours can also end up making your lips chapped. “Protect lips and nails also by coating with Vaseline or a good lip balm for lips and a nourishing cuticle oil or sweet almond oil for the nails,” suggests Dr Shubha. Also, applying transparent nail polish can do wonders as it will prevent your nails from staining.

Eyes essential

The harmful solvents in Holi colours and specially green colour could be tremendously toxic for your eyes which can trigger allergy, make your eyes puffy and even cause temporary blindness. Wear thick sunglasses not just for style but also for safety issues as it will prevent direct contact with your eyes. If colour enters your eyes, wash it immediately with cool water. If problem persists, visit an ophthalmologist without wasting a second!

Mindful make-up

If you think wearing make-up for the Holi bash will make you look gaudy you are mistaken! Make-up can actually protect you from toxic colours thrown at your face. Ensure your make-up is waterproof so that it stays on longer. Applying waterproof make-up ensures that colours don’t stick on your skin. A good quality lipstick will also guard your lips. Before putting lipstick apply lip-guard and go for darker shades.

Good bye, colours

Post-celebration, it’s clean up time. “Cleanse gently using circular upward massaging strokes. You may use an oil-based cleanser to get rid of the colours,” says Dr Shubha. Dr Apratim adds, “If the colour is stubborn, apply warm olive oil. Rub the skin gently with a soft cloth. Apply curd or a herbal pack made with gram flour and milk afterwards to soften the skin. Use a face pack made by mixing gram flour and curd and massage gently to take out the traces of colour.”

After care

Make sure you moisturise your body thoroughly. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Avoid bleaching, waxing or facials for a week after Holi. Avoid styling your hair with blow dryers and straightening irons. Use a generous amount of moisturising lotion on the body after showering. Hydrate cuticles again and lips with a lip balm. Shampoo hair immediately after playing with colour and don’t forget to condition your hair. If hair is too dry then warm oil accompanied with hot towel treatment should be given the next day. Rinse hair with either lemon juice or beer to bring back the shine.

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