Go green for a happy Holi, advise health experts

To make this Holi a safe one, local experts recommend the use of herbal/natural colours instead of synthetic ones.

"For the last few years, there has been a spurt in the number of cases of skin allergies immediately after the festival gets over. Last year, around 50-60 patients with skin problems visited the hospital on the day of festival. The reason is the chemicals and synthetic dyes used in Holi colours, which causes severe damage to skin and hair," says Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant dermatologist, National Skin Hospital.

He says many cases are of irritant contact dermatitis and contact urticaria. "The symptoms vary from mild irritation in the form of itching or dryness, rashes or allergic dermatitis. There can be severe itching and burning sensation, redness and in some cases, even skin burns," he adds.

Advising people to choose natural or herbal colours over synthetic ones, Dr Sharma says, "One should use herbal colours and avoid playing with dark colours, as they are more harmful. Black colour has lead oxide chemical, red has mercury sulfate, dark green has copper sulphate and shimmering colours have mica dust and powdered glass mixed in them, all these chemicals are very hazardous to the skin and hair."

"One should be extra careful with infants, as their skins are very sensitive. Pregnant women should avoid playing Holi, because chemicals used in the colours can be absorbed in the skin and can affect the normal course of pregnancy," he adds.

Skin specialist Dr S D Mehta says, "Every year on Holi, around 30-40 patients visit the clinic. People with sensitive skin should avoid playing Holi, or they should use herbal colours."

Dr G P Dhami, prof and the head of dermatology, GMCH-32, says, "During the festival time, cases of skin problems go up by 5-10%. People should prefer dry colours. They should avoid playing with sparkling colours as these contain mica dust which is very harmful to the skin."

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