Organic colours a big hit this Holi: Chandigarh shopkeepers

Students celebrate holi outside DAV college in Sector 10 of Chandigarh Wednesday. Jaipal Singh

SPRING is in the air and as nature's vibrant hues fill our spaces and lives, it's time to welcome the season with a splash-with Holi. With the festive fervour in full swing, many will be playing a healthy and safe Holi this year.

Chemical-based colours, which are mostly prepared by using industrial dyes or oxidised metals mixed with oil, can play havoc with the skin, eyes, hair and also cause water pollution. Replacing them are eco-friendly, natural and herbal colours, available throughout the city in stunning shades and scents. According to shopkeepers, these natural and herbal colours are a big hit with people.

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Many are going a step ahead and celebrating Holi in style by making natural colours at home, using flowers, fruits and vegetables. A popular method is to boil beetroot in water or soak it overnight in a vessel and use its brilliant dark maroon colour for the festivities. Crushed rose petals soaked in water, red sandalwood powder in water, red hibiscus flowers or tesu flowers soaked overnight in water, are other popular ways to make natural colours. One can also use the juice of pomegranate, tomatoes and carrots, to prepare herbal colours. Many temples in the city, like ISKON, use flowers to spread the joy of Holi.

"Skin pigmentation, rashes and eczema, are some of the after-effects of use of synthetic colours, which contain synthetic raisins, PPT and lead," says internationally acclaimed dermatologist and dermato-laser surgeon, Dr Vikas Sharma. He is the chief consultant at National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex.

Dr Sharma points out that the symptoms may vary from mild irritation in form of itching or dryness, which can in turn lead to more irritation and itching, rashes or allergic dermatitis. Dr Sharma adds that hair damage could be in the form of itching, redness, dryness and scalp infections. The delayed affects could be loss of hair, thinning of hair, coarse, thin and lusterless hair texture. "Children, infants and pregnant women, need to be extra careful."

Dr Jatin Sharma, MD, Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist, Fortis Hospital, Mohali says, "We need to protect our hair and skin from harmful colours. Moisturise your body, especially face and hair with coconut oil, olive oil or Vaseline. After playing Holi, wash off the colours thoroughly from the skin with soap or body wash. If there is skin irritation, apply coconut oil and if it persists, visit a dermatologist. Keep yourself hydrated and use organic and natural colours."

Manjot Doad, a natural health educator, suggests a unique way to celebrate this festival of colours, "Why don't we bring all the vibrant colours of mother nature into our lives this Holi by adopting a healthy diet, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables? Vegetables that are over- cooked, lose their colours and should not be included in diet. Instead fresh salads and seasonal fruits are the best option for a healthy meal, mind and body."