Experts on what precautions to take during Holi.
While its popularity as a festival that binds people across communities cannot be denied,Holi affects revellers in ways they do not bargain for. Primarily the colours used,comprising chemicals such as iron,copper manganese and their sulphates,can damage the skin irreversibly. Experts say that eco-friendly colours can reduce the damage to skin and hair,but complete protection can reduce the chances of any skin problems.
Dr Sunil Tolat,consultant dermatologist at Jehangir Hospital and professor at BJ Medical College,says,Water-based colours are the best option. Usually oil-based colours are made out of inorganic dyes that cause skin irritation,swelling and burns. Eco-friendly colours are water soluble and help in reducing irritation on the skin. Another factor is how you play with the colours. The sun acts as a serious skin damager owing to the reactions between colours and the heat. As far as possible,playing in the shade or indoors can help curb issues to a great extent.
Age-old techniques such as using coconut oil are recommended by skin experts. Dr Rashmi Shetty,hair expert,says applying coconut-based hair oil acts as a barrier and prevents colours from coming in direct contact with hair. Coconut oil achieves up to 90 per cent hair penetration. The oil can be washed off easily as it is very light, she says.
Organic colours tend to wash off easily and do not cause skin burns,rashes or blisters. Tolat says a lot of post-festivity problems also occur because of the wrong techniques that people use to clean the colours. People use industrial-strength detergents and solvents to get the colours out of their hair and skin. That is very damaging. Prefer using skin creams and oils. One of the best things that can be done is lightly rub coconut oil all over the body. That helps cleanse the skin, he says.
Mahesh Gupta,owner of Mogra Spa in Aundh says he gets many clients before and after the festival. I always tell them to apply a thick layer of vaseline all over the body. Another important thing is to use a very high SPF content sunscreen lotion. If people fail to do all of this,they need to scrub the exposed body parts with aloe vera after playing the colours. It helps reduce the burning sensation, he says.