Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 240-242

The 'Holi' dermatoses : Annual spate of skin diseases following the spring festival in India

Departments of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprosy, R.G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Sudip Kumar Ghosh
VILL+P.O-Rajballavpur (VIA-Maslandpur), District-24 Parganas (North), West Bengal - 743 289
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.55632

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Background : 'Holi' is an annual spring festival celebrated all over India. The central ritual of Holi involves throwing of colors on one another. Playing with toxic industrial dyes often results in various dermatological complaints in a significant number of people immediately following the celebration. Aims : To describe patterns of various skin manifestations directly or indirectly related to the use of different colors in the celebration of Holi. Methods : Observational clinical study on consecutive patients presenting to a teaching hospital in Kolkata, India. Results : Forty-two patients with a mean age of 24.2 years were studied. Itching was the commonest symptom (25, 59.5%), followed by burning sensation, pain, oozing, and scaling. Eleven patients' symptoms were attributed to activities related to preparation of colors and the removal of colors from the skin surface. Eczematous lesions were the most common pattern (24, 57.1%) followed by erosions, xerosis and scaling, erythema, urticaria, acute nail-fold inflammation, and abrasions. Thirteen (30.9%) patients reported aggravation of preexisting dermatoses (acne, eczema, and paronychia). Secondary pyoderma occurred in 3 (7.1%). Face was the commonest site affected (24, 57.1%), followed by dorsum of the hands, scalp, forearm, palms, arms, and trunk. Ocular complaints in the form of redness, watering, and grittiness occurred in 7 (16.7%) patients. Conclusion : Various forms of cutaneous manifestations, often associated with ocular complaints, occur commonly due to Holi colors. Public awareness and regulatory actions are needed to avoid these preventable conditions.

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