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Evolving Trends and Concerns in India’s Skincare Industry

Trends in Indian skincare industry

In recent years, India’s skincare industry has witnessed a transformative shift away from the traditional emphasis on fair skin as the epitome of beauty. While the eurocentric standards persist, emerging skincare brands now prioritize realistic goals, prompting concerns about consumerism and unrealistic skin ideals.

The Cultural mirage

The pervasive cultural notion that fair skin equates to beauty has long influenced individuals like Antra, who, despite not considering fair skin a life goal, previously sought remedies for her tanned skin due to societal pressure. Advertisements for fairness creams perpetuated these standards, linking light skin to success in both career and marriage. Notably, the controversial ‘Fair and Lovely’ brand underwent rebranding to ‘Glow and Lovely‘ in response to public pressure in 2020.

Modern skincare trends in India now focus on practical objectives such as sun protection, acne reduction, and hydration. Products incorporating ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide aim to enhance overall skin health. While skincare routines emphasize the benefits of various products, concerns arise about potential side effects and the industry’s role in fostering consumerism.
Newer brands targeting younger consumers adopt inclusive branding, challenging conventional beauty standards. Influencers like Nainika note that urban Gen Z and millennials reject fairness-centric ideals. However, despite this shift, the desire for lighter skin persists, albeit under different terminology like “brightening.”

The industry’s evolution raises questions about consumerism, with criticism directed at brands promoting excessive product consumption. Flashy sales runs and influencer endorsements contribute to confusion among consumers, as acknowledged by Pragya, who navigated through a sea of products based on social media reviews.

Is it too many?

Dermatologist Dr. Manasi observes that clients often feel overwhelmed by the product variety, leading to impulsive purchases and potential harm to the skin barrier. Additionally, products lacking scientific backing, such as gua shas, jade rollers, and sheet masks, contribute to environmental concerns and questionable effectiveness.

Some brands face backlash for propagating unrealistic skin standards, with the pursuit of flawless, poreless “glass skin” becoming an obsession. The surge in anti-aging products also raises concerns about societal pressure on women to combat natural aging processes negatively.

As the industry navigates this transformation, it must strike a balance between promoting genuine skincare benefits, addressing environmental impact, and avoiding the creation of unattainable beauty ideals. The challenge lies in providing education to consumers, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring that skincare routines remain grounded in science rather than contributing to unnecessary consumerism and unrealistic expectations.

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