Holi and Skin Care

A popular festival, Holi is celebrated with the spraying of colours and feasting on sweets. Though after all the fun and frolic, we dermatologists consult a handful of patients coming in for acute side effects on skin, eyes and scalp. It is best to be aware and prepared for these preventable consequences. Here are some tips for the same…

What you need to know:

While herbal or homemade natural colours made from hibiscus, berries, turmeric, etc. maybe safe, marketed synthetic colours containing chemical solvents, lead oxide, mercury sulphite, copper sulphate, Prussian blue, etc. can create havoc on a sensitive skin and other organs. Those who are diabetic and obese need to be extra cautious.

Dehydration and tanning are other commonly seen complications in those who play with colour and dance in the sunlight. Also, please note that colours and excessive sweets may lead to acne and boils.

Preventive measures help in avoiding such eventualities to a large extent. These measures can be classified as pre-Holi, on the day of Holi and post-Holi.


Here are some of the things that you can do before you begin your Holi celebrations…

  • Oiling the hair and moisturising the skin at least half an hour prior creates an effective barrier effect.
  • Transparent nail paints and lip balm too give a protective coat.
  • Water resistant high SPF sunscreens protect against skin darkening.
  • Those with dandruff and dry scalp hair may also apply lemon before oiling.
  • Cotton clothing and covering a maximum area of skin protects from tan and harmful colours.
  • Fluid intake before and during is essential to hydrate the skin as well as prevent dehydration.
  • Waxing, threading, laser hair removal, skin peels, bleaching and facials should be avoided for a few days before Holi.

During Holi

Do take heed of the below tips during your celebrations:

  • Dry colours are always preferable to the water-colour combination.
  • Playing with flowers would be an ideal situation.
  • Avoid synthetic, skin-hugging clothes which maximise colour contact.
  • Lenses should be replaced with glasses wherever possible.
  • Drinking water, soothing creams and gels should be kept handy.

Post – Holi

Finally, follow a post-Holi skincare regime to avoid damage…

  • Dry colours can easily be dusted, brushed and cleaned.
  • Removal of colour from wet skin can be very tedious. One may use cleansers, curd, Fuller’s earth, sandalwood powder, besan, ripe papaya, rose water, lemon juice in various combinations and with the help of loofah, to do so.
  • Using exfoliating creams, scrubbing the skin with harsh soap or using kerosene oil is to be strictly avoided.
  • Moisturising cream needs to be reapplied on moist skin after a bath to retain the moisture.
  • After rinsing with cold water, a mild shampoo followed by conditioning or a serum application to hair strands should be the norm.

Other important pointers:

  • If there is any rash, redness or itching on skin, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Eye irritation or watering of eyes is another medical emergency.
  • Aggravation of acne or pre-existing eczema is another reason for seeing a dermatologist.
  • Leukoderma and skin cancer are other known long-term complications with synthetic colours.

Hope these tips enable you to enjoy a safe and happy Holi!

Dr. Jawahar Mansukhani is a Consultant Dermatologist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai

2 comments on “Holi and Skin Care

  1. bellezaaradhya

    thanks I will definitely follow this though fun cannot be avoid so this will be helpful
    btw happy holi : )

  2. Jawaharlal Mansukhani

    Today & tomorrow please do not put 500₹ and 2000₹ note in your money wallet or purse. If some how those notes get affected with colours
    bank will not accept that money and the notes will be a useless. We tend to overlook this preventive measure. 😊

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