Holi – The festival of colours is here. The time when you put all rules on hold and let the child within loose, playing with colours, dancing on Rang Barse, and simply soaking up the sun as you gorge on gujias and gulp down the thandai. As you get ready to have all the fun, make sure that your skin is well protected, so that you do not suffer from any after effects like skin allergies or irritation after the game is over.

Preparations in full swing:

Traditionally, the festival was all about natural colours made from flowers and herbs. But these days there are many varieties of cheap and synthetic colour available in the market made from chemicals, and artificial dyes. They could also contain heavy metals, acids, mica, glass powder and dangerous alkalis. These chemicals can cause serious harm to the skin. “The immediate effect could be itching or rashes, but it can also lead to lifelong impairments like allergy, skin eczema, vitiligo or even blindness,” shares Dr Deepali Bhardwaj.

It is a great idea to play with natural colours and herbs like tesu or genda flowers, rose petals, haldi and sandalwood that are actually good for your skin. But if you are going out and not sure about the colours others will use, here are a few tips to protect your skin as suggested by Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, honorary dermatologist to President Estate Clinics, Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Cover them up:

If you have any open wound or cuts, then bandage should be done prior to playing Holi to avoid the absorption of harmful chemicals. Harmful chemicals can lead to dangerous consequences like internal cancers at a later date, and blindness due to being absorbed into the bloodstream. Also, try to wear full clothes to avoid direct contact with the colour of your skin.

Oil it right:

If you have dry skin, make sure that you oil your entire body with coconut oil. You can also use Olive or Vitamin E oil if you prefer. While oiling, make sure you do not forget places like behind the ear, between fingertips and near the fingernails where the paint is bound to collect. Also, make sure to oil your hair well with mustard oil and tie it in a plait or pony. If you’ve been wanting to experiment with nail colour, here’s your chance to go wild. Paint your nails with the darkest shade possible to avoid the Holi colour from seeping inside the nail bed.

Eye Care:

Taking care of your eyes is extremely important as chemicals can cause irritation and even blindness if they go into your eyes. Wear protective glasses, an even old pair of sunglasses is a good idea as they protect your eyes and look fashionable at the same time!

The Aftermath:

After you have had all the fun with colours and can hardly recognize yourself in the mirror, it is now time to get back to your normal (read boring) routine. If you are wondering how you will ever get rid of all that colour and face the world, worry not. Dr Deepali Bhardwaj gives you a step-by-step process to cleanse your skin and get back that glow safely. First, stand under the shower for 5-10 and let the colour start to wash itself off. Do not scrub or scratch aggressively at this point. Next, use a liquid soap to gently clean your body. If, there is still some colour left, try some simple home remedies that are effective but not harsh on your skin.

The cure for colour:

Be extra careful while removing the Holi make-up from your face. It is ideal to use olive oil on cotton to remove the colour and then try a home remedy. A concoction of fresh lemon juice, curd and a pinch of sandalwood powder is great to remove those stubborn traces of colour from your body and get back the glow. You can also add a pinch of turmeric and teaspoon of white flour for extra effect.However, if there are still some traces of colour, then remember to give it a couple of days to fade away naturally rather than scrubbing away aggressively and harming your skin in the process. However, do note that if any form of irritation persists on the skin or in the eyes, then it is advisable to see a dermatologist make sure that it is not a serious allergy. Here’s wishing you all a happy, safe, and colourful Holi!