Celebrations and Festivals

How Harmful Holi Colours Can Be For Child's Skin?

Swati Nitin Gupta

Created by Swati Nitin Gupta
Updated on Mar 19, 2019

How Harmful Holi Colours Can Be For Childs Skin
Reviewed by Expert panel

The festival of colors is loved by one and all. Holi is the time of the year when people forget all their animosity towards each other, splash colors on the face, hug and greet each other and share sweets. Children, streaked with Holi colours run with excitement. Their hands busy with their water sprinklers, ready to target anybody and everybody who comes in their vicinity. One should absolutely avoid red/green/black/purple/golden and silver colors as they are most harmful to the body.

However, these days, the colors used are cheap and synthetic that can prove to be harmful to your child’s skin. Read more to find out. 

How Harmful Holi Colour for Your Child's Skin?

We talked to Dr. Priyanka Pal Mantri, the leading Dermatologist in Delhi-NCR. Excerpts:

#1. What Are the Harmful Effects of Color on Skin? 

Harmful effects of Holi color on the skin can be as varied as simple skin irritation or allergic rash, abrasions, to increased photosensitivity, tattooing of skin and even long term effects like skin cancers. Hair can become rough and brittle leading to increased breakage besides scalp irritation. [Explore: Tips to Protect Child's Body from Holi Colours]

#2. What is the Best Way to Protect Child’s Skin During the Festival?

Best way to protect your children is to oil their hair thoroughly and in case of girls, ensure that you tie the hair up before letting them play with colors. Also, it’s important to apply petroleum jelly or a thick moisturizer to their skin and a broad spectrum sunscreen with minimum SPF of 30 to all the exposed parts of the body before playing with any colors so that the effect of the colors can be minimized.

#3. What Colors Should Be Avoided at all Cost?

It’s best to use home-made or natural colors for everybody but especially for children. Organic colors that are also eco-friendly are safer than any chemical artificial colors but be sure they are from a good standard brand. One should completely avoid synthetic colors that contain harmful chemicals like solvents, aromatic compounds, tetracyclines, benzene, heavy metals like lead/mercury/ copper and use mica/alkalis/glass powders as a base. These could have some severe harmful effects on your child’s skin. One should absolutely avoid red/green/black/purple/golden and silver colors as they are most harmful to the body.

#4. Are Wet Colors more Harmful than Dry Colours?

Wet colours can be more harmful especially for young children, as they penetrate the skin more deeply causing tattooing and increased photosensitivity and long term cancer risks are also higher. In addition, they are the most difficult to get rid off as they don’t come off easily with simple soap and water leading to use of harsh detergents/acetone/Dettol/ scrubbers etc, which strip the skin of essential moisture and cause more harm and irritation.

Dos and Don’ts on Holi?

Here we shared some Dos & Don't Do's on the occasion of Holi to safeguard you & your kids. Read these 

Do’s of Safe Holi:

  • Protect the skin hair and eyes.
  • Apply oil on skin and hair as protective cover. Use sunblock.
  • Play with natural organic eco-friendly colors.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and colors on pregnant women and small children.
  • Use normal soap and water to wash off followed by thorough application of moisturizer on the skin.

Don’t of Safe Holi:

  • Don’t force anyone to play if not willing.
  • Don’t use chemical colors.
  • Avoid pucca wet colors and colors with metals.
  • Don’t use oils and grease to mix colors.
  • Avoid water balloons.
  • Avoid color fumes.
  • Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Avoid detergents, acetone, Dettol on the skin to wash off colors.
  • Avoid intense scrubbing of skin to wash off colors.


Special Precautions for Pregnant Women & Children: 

Any special tips for pregnant women and children that you would like to share with us? They should avoid playing with colors. However, natural colours made out of organic ingredients and herbal or vegetable dyes are much safer for use. Chemical colors are very harmful not just for skin but also for respiratory system/ bones/ kidney by way of trans-placental transmission. A simple natural sandalwood ‘tika’ is good enough for infants younger than 6months of age. [Explore: Tips to Play Safe Holi With Your Child & Family]

What Sort of Skin Problems Can Occur?

Long term effects on the skin: Many of the chemical colors have carcinogenic potential in long term besides other risks like asthma/ kidney failure/ weakening of bones/ pneumonia etc. So play safe and eco-friendly Holi always!!!

Dr. Priyanka Pal Mantri is a Senior Consultant Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine at Max Gurgaon and Saket New Delhi and Skinfully Yours.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Mar 23, 2016

Quite useful information for the parents and pregnant ladies as well.

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| Mar 25, 2016


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| Mar 21, 2019

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| Apr 06, 2019

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| May 11, 2019

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