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Go natural

Life is colourful, enjoy it

Dr Jastinder Gill

Holi the ancient Indian festival of colours marks the beginning of spring. Spring is the season of flowers, green leaves, freshness, and fragrances. Colours have an astonishing affect on health. Holi is celebrated by millions using either dry or wet colours. Earlier, natural colours made from flowers, leaves and herbs were used. But, over the years, due to commercialisation, these natural colours have been replaced by synthetic ones, which contain toxic chemicals. These colours contain heavy metals, acids, alkalis, powdered glass, asbestos, chalk pastes etc. Black paste has lead oxide, green-copper sulphate and red-mercury sulphite. The shimmering shine given to these colours is by mica and powdered glass. These chemicals are meant for industrial use as in dyeing textiles etc.


It is fun to play with colours and water, but the harmful effects could lead to skin, hair and eye problems. These chemicals create havoc on the skin and hair, in the form of allergy, rash, irritation, infection and much more. The symptoms may vary from mild irritation, dryness to severe form of irritant dermatitis burning, itching and allergic dermatitis. These chemicals can lead to skin cancer. The hair damage can be in the form of itching, dryness, scalp infections etc. The delayed affects could be loss of hair, and coarse, thin and lusterless hair texture. Be extra careful for with young ones, newborns and infants, as they have very sensitive skin. Pregnant mother should be cautious too, as the chemicals get absorbed from the skin. So, use natural colours made from flowers and herbs, which have beneficial effects on skin and health.


Holi without colours is meaningless. So, the best way to enjoy Holi is to follow these simple skin and hair care steps.

Before going out to play, apply a moisturiser, and then a sunscreen on the face and other exposed parts of the body, even pure coconut oil or olive oil can be applied to the body, as it forms a protective barrier and thus protects the skin from colours. For extra protection use lacto calamine on top of the moisturiser and sunscreen.

Do not forget to apply moisturiser and sunscreen on lips. Girls can apply lip colour for extra protection and boys can use a lip balm.

Protect your hair by applying leave-on conditioner; even simple coconut/olive oil can give good protection to your hair. This is the only time; I recommend the use of hair gel. Apply gel or oil on your hair before you go out to play Holi, it shall protect your hair.

Wear clothes which cover all exposed areas as arms and legs.

Use cap or hat to protect your hair.

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes

Girls can apply nail paint on their nails to protect them from damage.


Cleanse: At the end of the day first thoroughly cleanse your face, body and hair with lots of water to wash away the colour. Then use soap and shampoo to cleanse the body and hair. Do not rub vigorously. Be gentle. You can use a hair conditioner after the shampoo

Moisturise: Moisturise the skin well and condition the hair.

Treat: In case of mild irritation or rash, apply calamine lotion. In case of severe allergy or irritation consult your dermatologist. In case of eye irritation, splash water. Do not rub the eyes as it can cause abrasions. If the eye sight is blurred, then visit the ophthalmologist.