The festival of colours is here. Along with fond memories of Gulal, rain dancing, pichkaris and bhang, if you have repeated nightmares of skin and eye allergies or other serious problems due to the colours, this article’s for you.
Why do you need to avoid synthetic colours?
Recent studies have found safety issues with all three forms in which the Holi colors are produced: pastes, dry colours and water colours. The various ingredients found in synthetic colours like lead oxide (black), mercury sulphide (red), aluminium bromide (silver), copper sulphate (green), Prussian blue have been known to cause various health problems ranging from dermatitis (skin becoming red and blotchy), eye allergies, skin problems and even temporary blindness.
What kind of colours should you use?
Natural is best! Make the colours at home, like they used to in the good old days. Mix the following natural colour producing ingredients by making a paste and mixing with besan or gramflour:
- henna, palak (green)
- turmeric, marigold flowers (yellow)
- red hibiscus flowers, tomatoes, beetroot, kumkum (red)
- tea leaves (brown)
You can also buy organic/herbal colours to play safe this Holi
Tips to protect your hair and skin from synthetic colours:
Hair: After playing Holi, you might have noticed that your hair becomes very dry, frizzy and brittle. To avoid this, Massage your hair well from scalp to hair tips with coconut, olive or castor oil. This oil gives your hair a protective covering and shields it from harmful chemicals, dust and dirt. This will help the colours come off easily later, Try and cover your hair with a bandana or cap to decrease contact with colours.
Skin: Wear clothes that cover a lot of your skin, Cover the skin on your face, arms, legs etc with copious amounts of olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil or mustard oil, Use a waterproof sunscreen (SPF 30 and above), Cover your lips with a thick coat of Vaseline or lip balm.
Other potential dangers of Holi:
- If you are a known asthmatic or suffer from severe dust allergy, it is advisable not to venture out to play Holi with colours, especially the dry variety.
- If you wear contact lenses, do remove them before going out to play holi. If someone is spraying coloured water on your face, close your eyes.
- Bhang, the official drink for Holi, when consumed in large quantities can lead to effects like increased blood pressure and heart rate, psychosis. Never consume it on an empty stomach and do not mix it with alcohol.