India: A whiter shade of pale – 101 East

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India: A whiter shade of pale – 101 East

In India, real beauty is proving to be skin deep with a massive growth in the sale of skin-whitening creams. 101 East looks at India’s billion-dollar skin whitening industry and asks, can there be fairness in India, without fair skin?
Endorsed by top Bollywood stars in TV ads, marketers lure consumers with a bewildering supply of products that promote fair skin that they promote with bring romance or a new job after the user becomes markedly fairer.

Skin-lightening products aimed at Indian men are also booming with marketers constantly adding new products including whitening soaps, moisturisers and aftershaves.

The desire for pale skin has deep roots in India’s complex caste-driven history. Those higher up the scale were typically fair-skinned while lower castes often worked outdoors and were darker skinned.

101 East looks at India’s billion-dollar skin whitening industry and asks, can there be fairness in India, without fair skin?

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