Save your skin this Holi

CA Harish Suwalka (Chartered Accountant ( Bhilwara ))   (4125 Points)

01 March 2010  

Save your skin this Holi

The Holi countdown has begun. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the long weekend ahead and of course, the parties. Going wild is very much the essence of Holi, and most of us enjoy this festival just because it offers the opportunity to throw restraint out of the window for a few hours.

So why not prepare yourself for the inevitable onslaught of water and colour? While colour is the essence of Holi, the skinfriendly natural dyes used a decade ago have now been replaced by synthetic dyes that have toxic effects.

To minimise the potential effects of these on the skin and hair, it's best to take precautions.

The precautions have to be taken for some days before and after Holi.

"Avoid all facial treatments during this period. If you are prone to allergies and rashes, visit your dermatologist to check whether you need precautionary medication," advises Dr Ajay Rana, a dermatologist and aesthetic physician, who is the director of Berkowits Hair and Skin Clinics.

Harsh chemicals in the colours can cause itching and rashes, which lead to eczema upon scratching. Contact dermatitis, abrasion, irritation, itching, dryness, pruritus and burning sensation are the other problems. The best way to protect your skin is to apply a thick layer of oil or petroleum jelly on the exposed parts of the body an hour before you step out.

Also, use sunscreen since the dyes present in the colours make the skin vulnerable to sun burns, darkening and rashes. There's also the risk of getting dry skin and pigmentation since some colours are photosensitive and cause the skin to burn when it is exposed to sunlight. Washing and scrubbing to remove colours aggravate the problem.

"People tend to use soaps to remove colours but these contain esters that erode the skin layers and often cause rashes," says Dr Anil Malik, consultant dermatologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital. He advises washing with a soap- free cleanser.

Dr Rana cautions against using kerosene, spirit or petrol to remove the colour and says a cream- based cleanser or baby oil is the best option. "Make sure you use cold water for washing as hot water sticks the colour on the skin," he adds.

A liberal application of moisturiser or baby oil after cleansing is also a good idea. Also, it's best to stay away from sunlight till your skin settles down.

Coming to hair, the chemicals in the colours cause the roots to become brittle and the scalp to dry up. To prevent this, use baby oil or coconut oil daily before you shampoo your hair in the days leading up to Holi. But Just like soap, don't overdo the shampoo since it may lead to hair fall.

Nails are also to be taken care of as the dye lodged in nails is hard to remove. The best way to avoid this is to use petroleum jelly. And avoid a pedicure or manicure for a day or so as these treatments can either damage the nail or the cuticle.

Don't use nailpolish remover to get the colour off as it dissolves the protective skin layer .

Reproduced From Mail Today