Skin and Hair Care Tips by Dr Aman Dua published on Deccan Herald.

The culture of letting your hair down, literally, and drenching friends and family in the colours of Holi is dying slowly, with many preferring to stay locked indoors and enjoying the day watching the ‘festivities’ on television! Why? The reason, not surprisingly has a lot to do with health concerns and the damage toxic and adulterated organic colours cause to the skin and hair. Unfortunately, despite awareness drives about ‘saying yes to natural/herbal colours’ a large number of people still opt for chemical-based colours, largely because they are easy on the pocket. However, these adulterated colours can cause grievous damage.

But if this is the only reason why you are choosing to miss the action of drenching your friends in the colours of spring, then Metrolife is here to help We spoke to experts who have some sound advice for those indulging in Holi revelries.

The dry gulal and the wet colours of today contain chemicals, shiny particles of mica and even lead, which collect on the scalp and irritate the skin. Since Holi is played out of doors, the skin is exposed to harmful UV rays. Sun-exposure also makes the skin dry and tanned.

“To protect your skin and hair, wear barrier creams on your face and use a protective hair oil. These product barriers will prevent the Holi colours from penetrating your skin and hair. Furthermore, try to protect your hair by covering it with a hat or scarf, which will also help safeguard you from the sun at the same time, advises Dr Kiran Lohia, dermatologist.
Many ayurvedic ingredients also help in protecting the skin and hair. Neem is one of the most versatile ingredients for both skin and hair care and is easily available. Neem leaf infusions can be used to wash the skin and hair to heal rashes and eruptions. “First boil water and add the neem leaves to the hot water. Do not boil the leaves, but cover it and let it stand in the water overnight. Next day, strain the water and use it to wash the skin and hair. Make a paste of the leaves and apply it on the skin and scalp. Leave it on for half an hour and wash off. It will also help itchy conditions,” is herbal beauty expert Shahnaz Husain’s advice.

Applying leave-on conditioner or hair serum on hair before playing Holi protects the hair from the effects of sun exposure and dryness caused by colours. To stop your nails from absorbing any colour apply transparent nail varnish on the nails and ensure they retain their natural sheen and health.

Those of you who have a very sensitive skin, check out the quick fix remedies that Dr Aman Dua has suggested. “Post Holi don’t wait too long before taking a bath. If you feel an itching sensation on the skin, do not rub the coloured skin vigorously as this would only compound the problem. The combination of Holi colours and sun is damaging to skin, so apply a soothing moisturiser and wash away the colour with warm water gently. Apply moisturiser again after wash. Use a mild body wash or cleanser like Cetaphil. Try antiallergic tablets like cetirizine or fexofenadine if the itching persists. If there is no relief, consult a dermatologist.”

Ideally, one should go for herbal and natural colours. If they are not available, one can test the colours available in the market before buying. Try to rub the colour between fingers, feel the softness, texture and residual colour left behind. Also, try to wet the colour and see if it sticks to the skin and causes irritation.

These measures are not just for those shying away from the fun, because of causes that are preventable. Now you do not have to watch people playing Holi from the safe confines of your home. Go out and live the spirit of Holi, which is meant to revitalise your bond with tradition, culture and family and friends.




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