Holi, the festival of colours, brings joy and fun. However, as we get into the spirit of this festival, it is important to be watchful about your skin and body.
Colours were traditionally made from dried flowers and herbs, but with time, harsh chemicals and dyes have replaced these natural ingredients. Each year during the run up to Holi, we hear about people suffering due to the use of colours that contains harmful chemicals.
Nivedita Dadu, a dermatologist from Skinology Skin and Hair Clinic, said: “Colours these days are made from engine oil , diesel, acids, mica, glass powder and alkalis, all of which damage the skin very badly. In some case, these colours causes serious injuries like eczema, redness, blisters, extreme redness and flaking of the skin. To minimise these potential side effects on the skin and hair, it’s best to take precautions.”
“Some colours are highly toxic and can even cause cancer. People who handle colours or play Holi often end up complaining about conjunctivitis, visual impairment, asthma and brutal skin reactions,” said Vikas Goswami, senior consultant oncologist, Fortis Hospital.
“Toxic colours, along with UV rays from the sun, can cause a phototoxic reaction to the skin, leading to blisters and redness. Moreover, Rhodamine B is used to make gulal , mercury sulphite for red, and chromium iodide for purple. Many people ask for pucca colours that stay longer on the skin. However, the industrial chemicals present in these colours can causes serious diseases like skin cancer,” added Dr. Goswami.
Not only colours, bhang too is one tradition associated with Holi. Colours and bhang are the two things that “complete” the festival. However, an overdose of bhang can lead to serious health complications.
“Bhang is an intoxicant that makes you feel drowsy and sleepy. Consumption of bhang can result in high BP, increased heart rate, adversely affect a foetus, the nervous system and the brain,” said Shobha Gupta, gynaecologist and IVF specialist at Mother’s Lap IVF Centre.
She added that it is very important for pregnant women not to play Holi at all and stay indoors.