The Issue of Fair Skin Treatments in India

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“Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all”. When I was younger this was just a line from a fairy tale but today the concept of fair skin is the harsh reality even in urban Indian cities such as Bangalore. Every day hundreds of women all over Bangalore gaze into the mirror and they are unhappy with what they see. Not being fair enough has become the predominant cause of these women’s discontent. Who can blame them? Everywhere you look the media promotes fairness. The fairness industry is one of the most booming industries in India today. Hundreds of tubes of creams and lotions promising to lighten one’s natural skin tone are manufactured daily and fly of the shelves just as quickly. After all, fair skin is what is going to land you that dream job, make heads turn and get you that ring on your finger. Isn’t it ironic then, that every year our Western counterparts invest hundreds of dollars on tanning solutions and tanning beds to make their skin brown whereas here in Asia we invest in lightening our brown skin. Is this a case of the grass being greener on the other side? It isn’t unusual for us to want what we don’t have, however when a simple notion becomes a deep rooted belief it could lead to feelings of inferiority which can be harmful in the long run. Recently I had a friend tell me that she would feel so much more confident if only she were a little fairer. While the idea of fair skin being associated with beauty did not shock me, I was a little surprised to hear it from someone who was attractive in every other way except for her tanned skin. Another time, I overheard a conversation between two girls where one girl was told by the other not to wear nail polish because she was dark. These are just few of the misconceptions regarding skin colour among others being do not wear bright colours if you’re tanned, avoid make-up if you’re dark because it would draw attention to your skin tone. If you open any local newspaper or magazine on any...
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