A whiter shade of pale - India's skin-whitening cosmetic industry is worth billions of dollars and growing, but not all of the products are safe.
02 Sep 2010. Aljazeera - In India, real beauty is proving to be skin deep with a massive growth in the sale of skin-whitening creams.
India's obsession with pale skin has created a billion-dollar industry, with predictions it will grow in 2010 by 25 per cent.
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.