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Skin Care This Holi!

Today's Holi colours contain many harmful chemicals that can traumatise our skin and hair as well as cause allergic reactions. Why not play Holi this year with natural colours that you make yourelf?

Holi is after all Holi. There is no festival more vibrant, colourful and exhilarating than Holi. Everyone wants to enjoy it - to dance in clouds of gulal and to get soaked in shower of coloured water. Yet many of us suffer from skin problems, allergies, breakouts and irritations later on. The consequence of Holi in not just spoilt clothes and floors, but skin and hair damage too due to the presence of chemicals in the colours used.

Synthetic colours

Most Holi colours sold these days contain many harmful chemicals. In fact, most are dyes meant for industrial uses like dyeng textiles and are not meant to be applied on humans. These colours have in them heavy metals, acids and powdered glass. The black paste youngsters use has lead oxide, green contains copper sulphate, red is mercury sulphite and so on. All these are toxic and can result in anything from skin allergies to cancer, from eye irritation to blindness. And worse.

Even the bases in which these chemicals are mixed are highly toxic. Many dry powders use a base of asbestos talc, chalk powder or silica. Asbestos is a known as human carcinogen, which builds up in the body daily tissue, and even micro quantities can result in cancer. Silica may dry as well as chap the skin. The shine in the colours is due to the addition of powdered glass or mica.

Many water colours have an alkaline base capable of causing severe problems. If it enters the eyes, it can pose a great danger to one's vision. Colours in the form of paste have toxic compounds mixed in a base of engine oil or other inferior quality oil, capable of causing skin allergy, temporary blindness and much more.

Synthetic colours used during Holi often contain lead oxide, engine oil, diesel, chromium, iodine and copper sulphate, which cause skin irritation and even blindness in case of extreme exposure.

Colours in the hair:

Hair can turn brittle and extremely dry if colour remains in it for a long time. This is due to the chemicals in the colours and the dust in the air. Though no damage is done to the roots or scalp, the hair begins to break. Oiling of the hair thoroughly before jumping into the playing arena can go a long way in taking care of this common problem.

If the colour enters the eyes...

While throwing colours at each other, people do not realise that these colours might enter the eye, damage the ocular surface and cause temporary problems. There could also be complications that pose a great danger to the sight and could impair it.

There are well documented cases of eye injury due to Holi colours. So one should keep in mind that, while playing Holi, sensitive areas like the eyes should be avoided. However, if colour enters, one should immediately wash them with large amounts of water and, incase irritation persists, medical aid should be sought immediately.

If your skin is too sensitive:

Individuals with a history of eczema oratopic dermatitis are at a high risk of developing allergic contact dermatitis due to Holi colours and dyes. This will manifest in itching, a red rash and irritation in the area of contact. Such individuals should use a barrier cream (white soft, yellow soft, paraffin) prior to playing Holi While the application of very little colours would be an ideal solution to avoid any kind of allergy, the application of a body oil, like coconut oil, can also protect the skin. However, if the colours irritate the skin, they should be immediately washed away with running water.

To make Holi truly colourful:

Use quality colours:

- Use water-soluble colours and stay away from "permanent" colours because they contain cheap dyes that cause reactions.

- Avoid metallic colours, like gold and silver.

- Most dry colours are safe, but avoid glittery ones. They contain silica particles that can abrade your skin.

- Feel the texture of the colour before buying it. It should feel powdery, like talc and not grainy or gritty.

Make your own natural colours:

To make your own colours, all you need are a few plants. For green, take plants like henna and dry and powder them. Use separately or mix the powder with suitable flour to make a green colour. Ultimately, you could use the paste of green leafy vegetables to turn others green.

Turmeric mixed with gram flour gives a good colour too. Marigold flowers can also be dried and ground and paste used instead of artificial colours. Red sandalwood powder can be used to colour the cheeks crimson. Rose petals or gulal is also a good option and so is vermilion. Red hibiscus flowers soaked in water overnight, also give a red colour.

Use palaash or tesu:

These flowers, available with any general merchant, can be boiled and soaked overnight to get a rich yellow colour. In the Vedas, it is written, "If clothes soaked in this colour are worn, then that colour will have its effect on our bodies by entering through the pores of the skin, and will save us from contagious diseases." It has miraculous medicinal effects on the body. The increased heat in the body may result in gloominess and an increase in anger. Palash prevents all such symptoms as it regulates the body temperature. This colour destroys kapha, pitta, leprosy, heat and urinary disorders, vayu and blood impurities and increase blood circulation. It also increases willpower and mental and physical strength.

And now...

Get set and go:

- Wear clothes that cover most of your body.

- Liberally coat your entire body with oil, rubbing it into fingernails and body folds. Oiive oil is the best. Even coconut oil will do. This prevents permanent staining and forms a barrier to protect your skin from potential allergen.

- Oil your hair similarly. Colour will wash away more easily and not leave your hair feeling like a bundle of rope later on.

- Use nail paint and transfer resistant lipsticks (any Colourstay range), which stays put on your fingers and lips, besides protecting your fingernails, nailfolds and delicate skin of your lips.

- Colours and sunlight combined may cause a "photo toxic" reaction, so sunscreens are a must. Use waterproof sunscreens because liquid colours can wash off ordinary sunscreens. Try Banana Boat SPF-30 or Spectabran SPF-28.

When the hulla of Holi is over...

- Cleaning the skin of all the colours after the fun and games are over is the most important aspect. Wash immediately as these chemicals can harm your skin on prolonged contact. So bathe and shampoo as soon as possible to minimise skin contact time. Use a glycerine-based soap.

- Stuck with gulal stains on your face and ink blobs on your nose? No problem! For colour, or gulal on the skin, massage warm oil into your skin, (heavy oils like mustard are the best), and let the oil seep in for 15 minutes. Using a gentle soap and warm water, wash off the oil.

- For permanent colour stains, use a cotton ball soaked in acetone (your nail polish remover) or kerosene and gently remove it.

- Do not rub the skin vigorously with soaps, etc., but instead, opt for a cleanser. Follow this up with loads of moisturiser, especially one that is meant for sensitive skin. Liberal use of cold cream or moisturiser is good for the skin. Apply moisturiser on damp skin immediately after the bath.

- Apply the pack of curd or mashed papaya for 20 minutes. Liberal use of cold cream or moisturiser is good for the skin.

- After removing the colour, replenish and rejuvenate the skin by using a paste of soya bean flour or besan with milk. A mixture of sea salt, glycerin and a few drops of aroma oil has an anti-bacterial and antifungal effect and can take care of the bad effects of chemical colours. Use warm water and moisturising soap to scrub off the colours. Then, using a cream cleanser or baby oil, gently massage off the leftover colour.

- Colour on the hair should be rinsed off with a mild shampoo immediately. Conditioning is a must. Apply a hair pack of olive oil and honey after shampooing. If you have any rash or allergy, you can take a non-sedative, anti-allergic tablet like Ceterizine or consult a doctor immediately.

If you continue to have problems...

- If your skin feels irritated and is itching or burning, wash it properly again. Then mix one part of cortisone (Fluticasone) lotion with two parts of moisturiser or calamine lotion and apply.

- For a more severe reaction with eruptions, a tablet of Cetrizine (available at chemist shop) may be taken but its better to see a doctor immediately.

- For dull, dry hair, try this hair pack. Mix half a cup of olive oil, an egg white and 4 teaspoonfuls of honey. Coat your hair with this mixture for half an hour then wash off.

- A soothing face pack can be made with a mixture of pureed banana, 2 teaspoonfuls of honey and 2 teaspoonfuls of milk cream. This hydrates, softens and soothes the skin.

After Holi hulla, you are bound to get tanned, so try this natural recipe. Puree a tomato and apply it on your face for about 20 minutes. FreshArticle Search, crushed tomato pulp is supposed to remove immediate tanning.

Wish you a happy Holi with a healthy skin and great hair!

Article Tags: Holi Colours

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