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The cricket season can be hard on skin and hair, thanks to hair colours and face paints. Tips on how to cope as you cheer your favourite team.

Adverse effects: Chemicals in paint can cause reactions. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
Adverse effects: Chemicals in paint can cause reactions. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

D o you show your love for the Indian cricket team by sporting Tri-colour tattoos and painting your face and hair? If yes, then beware of skin allergies and hair loss, say experts while suggesting ideal ways to dress up for a match.

“Paints, dye pigments and colours used for hair colouring and tattoo can damage both skin and hair. The chemicals in pigments can have an adverse effect on our health when absorbed by the skin,” says Dr. Arvind Poswal, hair transplant surgeon.

Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr. Swati Srivastav agrees: “The main culprits in hair colours are pigments that can cause allergic reactions and rashes. A temporary hair colour will stay only till you wash your hair. But most contain harsh chemicals. Lots of people experience hair fall, hair breakage and skin allergies after colouring.” These colours also leave one's skin pleading for better care and protection. “Toxic chemicals cause skin peeling, allergy, rash, redness and swelling, and also increase chances of sun damage by increasing UV absorption,” adds Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr. Apratim Goel.

Exposure to sun

In the stadium, the fans face continuous exposure to the sun. Experts suggest application of sunscreen every two hours to combat tanning. “A sunscreen is a must. Apply one with SPF 50+ when stepping out for matches. Apply it at least 20 minutes before leaving home. Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and full-sleeved long dresses that protect your forearms, knees and legs and a large hat from sun exposure,” said Bangalore-based dermatologist Dr. Chytra V. Anand. “If you get rashes due to sun exposure, then wash the area with cold water and apply calamine lotion to soothe it. If the rash begins to burn, itch and swell, then see a dermatologist immediately.”

Removing paint

“While removing the paint, first soak your skin in baby oil for two hours; then wipe with dry cotton; finally, wash with a gentle cleanser and top it all with liberal application of moisturiser,” advises Dr. Goel.

According to Dr. Poswal, during cricket matches, specialists receive five-six queries from those who have hair loss after hair colouring.

“Whether it is World Cup or IPL, the cricket mania is eternal. This game definitely causes havoc to skin and hair. We get queries of sun damage, skin tanning and flare-up of acne during the season,” says Dr. Goel.

Though experts don't recommend the “colour” route, they do suggest a way out. “The best policy is to avoid such crazy stuff. However, if you must, then choose hypo-allergic body paints. Apply the colours for as little time as possible. Airbrushing is a better option than cheap temporary colours and tattoos,” suggests Dr. Srivastav. “Opt for trusted brands for hair colouring. Avoid getting wacky paints on your hair or skin, especially the face painting.” Dr. Poswal has more tips: “Do an allergy test before using a hair product. Use natural and temporary colours only. Hair colouring should be done by professionals only. Choose products that are ammonia-free.”

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