Dermatologist Dr. Shefali Trasi Nerurkar
Protect skin, hair and nails to enjoy the festival of colors .
Gunjiyas, pichkaris, gulal, thandai and laughter. That’s what Holi symbolizes for all of us but in the midst of all the swirls of colorful madness it’s vital to remember some basic safety rules. Sadly gulal is now passé. Brighter, often toxic chemical colors and dyes are often used, and according to experts, these can cause severe skin infections, eye injuries and even hair loss. Renowned dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr. Shefali Trasi Nerurkar says, “The use of synthetic colors during Holi often causes severe skin irritation, dermatitis, burning and redness that can be very distressing. In some cases the irritation is so severe that it leads to irreversible pigmentation.”
She explains that most water colors have an alkaline base and if splashed into eyes can cause temporary blindness and corneal abrasions. Colors in the form of pastes usually have toxic compounds mixed in a base of engine oil. Chemical colors are also cheaper alternates to herbal pigments and many people tend to opt for them without realizing how toxic these can be. “But forewarned is forearmed,” says Dr. Nerurkar, as she lists some basic precautions that Holi fans must keep in mind to enjoy the festival to the fullest.
- You should apply mustard oil and moisturizer before stepping out to play Holi with your friends. “This prevents the color from sticking to skin and allows for easy removal.” She also suggests generously oiling strands before playing with colors to form a protective shield on hair and prevent color from seeping into the scalp. “Simply shampooing after your fun session is enough to restore your crowning glory,” she says.
- Dr. Trasi warns against playing with chemical colors and insists organic powders and colors are a safer, environment and skin-and-hair friendly alternative.
- She recommends applying a good sunscreen with at least SPF 30 all over arms, legs and face to diminish the effect of color on the body. Nykaa suggests Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 50+
- Often in the hustle bustle of playing Holi with friends, the chances of color entering the mouth is high. “This can affect the color of your teeth. To be on the safer side it’s advisable to wear dental caps to protect your teeth from getting damaged, especially if you have veneers and caps.” However, if you can’t wear caps she suggests remembering to keep lips tightly pursed when someone applies color on your face to ensure the teeth remain unstained.
- Dr. Trasi says the skin on the face is more sensitive than the rest of the body and the eyes are obviously the most at risk. “Try your best to save your face from colors. Keep your eyes closed whenever someone is applying color to protect your eyes,” she adds.
- She also recommends covering as much of your skin as possible while playing Holi. “Wear a scarf on your head to protect your hair. Wear full sleeved clothing and long pants or a salwar so that as little as possible of your skin is exposed.”
- “In case color does enter your eyes please resist the temptation to rub them. This only grinds the harmful color deeper into the eyes.” Instead she recommends splashing plain water on the eyes to remove as much color as possible. “After washing out your eyes with water use a dropper to apply rose water to your eyes and rest them. This will cool the irritation.” Nykaa recommends Kama Ayurveda Pure Rose Water
- When all the fun is over, use a good moisturizing face wash on your face. “Holi colors can be very drying and using soap or harsh face washes can irritate skin further.” Nykaa suggests Olay Regenerist Cream Cleanser and Neutrogena Liquid Face Cleanser
- A simple home remedy to fade stubborn color: Make a mixture of gram flour, sweet almond oil and milk cream in rose water. Apply the paste on areas where the color is deepest. “Let the paste dry on the skin and rub it gently to remove it.”
- Applying a good moisturizing cream after your bath will also restore your skin’s lipid balance and soothe irritated skin. Nykaa recommends The Body Shop Wild Argon Oil Sublime Nourshing Whipped – Lotion and Nivea Cocoa Nourish Body Lotion.
- Protecting your nails is equally important as they bear the brunt of all the color. “To protect your nails from Holi colors, you must apply nail paint,” says Dr. Trasi. Start by applying a base coat for added protection and to prevent staining nails. Nykaa suggests IsaDora Gel Nail Lacquer Top Coat.
Have a safe and colorful Holi!