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Are non-toxic colours for Holi safe? Our expert answers

According to Dr Jaishree Sharad, one of India's top cosmetic dermatologist the non-toxic colours are not chemical free and made of cosmetics grade ingredients

Written by Tania Tarafdar |Published : March 4, 2015 11:43 AM IST

The festival of colours is finally here. Holi is sort of a 'go crazy day' in which smearing strangers with vibrant colours and getting smeared too is generally acceptable. But did you ever imagine rubbing chemicals such as lead oxide, engine oil, chromium iodine and copper sulphate on your face and hair? The synthetic colours used in Holi often contain these components, which cause skin irritation and even blindness in case of extreme exposure.

It is, therefore, always better that you use natural, skin-friendly colours or the ones made by reputed companies using natural products. These days the market is abuzz of non-toxic colours which are considered safe. But are they really safe? Let us have a look at our expert s take on this.

Are non-toxic colours chemical-free?

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According to Dr Jaishree Sharad, one of India s top cosmetic dermatologist, non-toxic colours are not chemical-free. They are made of cosmetic grade ingredients that can be easily removed from the skin and hair as they are water-soluble in nature.

Are they natural?

Dr Jaishree says, They are not natural but are made of cosmetic or food grade ingredients. They are biodegradable and hence much safer than chemical colours and do not cause allergies easily. Now, if you are wondering where to get these non-toxic colours from you can go for certain brands such as Pedilite and Rangeela that offer you a wide range of these non-toxic colours.

What is the difference between non-toxic and organic colours?

Non-toxic colours contain certain chemicals, whereas organic colours are totally chemical-free. Organic colours are made out of fruits, vegetables and herb extracts. Saffron, henna, black grapes, red sandalwood powder, marigold, beetroot, turmeric, yellow chrysanthemums, blue gulmohar, blue hibiscus are commonly used to make the colours. No chemicals are added in organic colours and they are non-toxic too. They usually do not cause skin allergies or irritant reactions or rashes. They can be removed easily and are free from heavy metals such as lead, mica, and mercury. Here are some tips for a healthy and safe Holi.

Are non-toxic colours safe for children?

Our expert says, Yes but organic is still safer. You should opt for organic colours for children as they are free of chemicals and can be easily washed off, causing less harm to the child s skin. It is crucial that while your child plays Holi, there is adult supervision at all times. It is also essential that you keep the colours away from your child s mouth as harmful chemicals, when ingested, can cause severe reactions such as vomiting and also poisoning. Here are 10 tips to keep your child safe this Holi.

Can everyone use non-toxic colours?

According to Dr Jaishree, non-toxic colours may cause allergies and rashes in those with sensitive skin. Individuals with a history of eczema and dermatitis can develop reactions to Holi colours and dyes easily and thus, should avoid the colours, even the non-toxic ones. They should especially avoid colours on sensitive areas such as the face. Also, read 6 precautions to prevent asthma attack during Holi.

Preparing organic colours at home is an option to keep away from the skin conditions. Here is how you can make some of the colours at home.

  • For green colour, you can mix pure mehndi powder with some flour to get the dry colour. You can also crush-dry gulmohor tree leaves to for green colour. Avoid using this with water as it could leave the orange tinge because of henna.
  • For yellow, combine turmeric powder with besan or gram flour. Marigold can also be crushed and mixed with water to get a yellow colour paste.
  • For magenta, slice and grate beetroot and soak in water. You can also boil or leave the beetroot overnight in water for a darker shade.
  • Red hibiscus flower soaked in water can also give you a red colour.

Image source: Getty Images

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