– by Samhati Bhattacharjya
The most awaited festival among all age groups Holi, the festival of colours is here. Research says along with the fond memories of Gulal, there are a few safety issues with all three processes adopted in producing Holi colours: 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 cancer and even temporary blindness.Traditionally, Holi was all about natural colours made with flowers and herbs. But with time, the natural ingredients were replaced with dyes, chemicals, heavy metals and sometimes even with acids, mica, glass powder and dangerous alkalis.
It is seen that people often indulge in an unsafe Holi which has a very bad effect on their health. The safety of the skin and other sensitive organs like eyes, ears are in question, for the ingredients used to manufacture colours.
The demand of darker and long-lasting colors have increased the amount of toxic chemicals used in the colors, which are posing to be a serious threat to the body. Mercury sulphate used in red colours and asbestos or silica – used as base material in most dark colours causes cancer, asthma, skin diseases and temporary blindness. But, there are solutions to these problems.
Here are a few tips to have a safe Holi.
- This Holi keep it Natural. It’s difficult to make out differences between natural colour and a dye colours. So take precaution. Make the colours at home like they used to in the good old days. You can use turmeric, henna, marigold flowers, kumkum and other ingredients to make colours.
- Avoid dark colours and in case you are exposed to it, please make sure that you wash it immediately with fresh water.
- Ensure that the colours don’t come in contact with your eyes.
- You must wear clothes that cover a lot of your skin. Dry skin allows chemicals to penetrate easily so cover the skin on your face, arms, legs etc with copious amounts of olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil or mustard oil.
- Apply a thick coat of Vaseline or lip balm to protect your lips getting exposed to toxic colours.
- Protect your nails from the colours by using transparent nail polish. If you have long nails, you can use it on the underside of the nails as well (remove this after the celebrations).
- Use of a toner before stepping out to play Holi helps to close the pores of your skin thereby reducing the absorption and the harm.
- If any open wound or cuts are there on the body then use a band-aid or bandage prior to playing Holi. This is to avoid entry and absorption of harmful chemicals in your blood stream that could later have more damaging effects like cancer, blindness etc.
But these precautions are not all. Now that you have played Holi with different colours, it’s time for you to get rid of those colours so that it doesn’t affect your body for a longer span of time. Even if you have taken all the precautions, but still it is always advisable to remove those colours as soon as possible. Many of you might find it very difficult to remove these colours, so here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Stand under running water for at least 5 to 10 minutes. This is a must. Don’t scrub yourself too hard and don’t scratch,
- Please remember not to use harsh soaps to get rid of colours from your skin. You can use liquid soap gently and after that use home-made packs or scrubs on stubborn colour so that it goes away.
- Use olive oil with cotton to remove the colours from your. This is after washing it in cold water for a few minutes.
- If you feel any sort of itching or rashes in your skin, please contact a dermatologist immediately to avoid further complications.
Holi is a festival of bright colours, a time for merrymaking and enjoyment. Let’s not make this brightness be the reason of our life’s darkness. Wish you a happy and safe Holi!