Beauty products can be cheating, cruel, cancerous

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The beauty business is like a slinky sorceress who ruthlessly exploits every weak spot in our armour, to make us spend recklessly. This business grabs us with all those advertisements telling us what we should want or need – it could be the lips of Angelina Jolie or the chesty charm of Salman Khan! A whiter than white face or a pencil slim figure!

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Luckily the Consumer Protection Act helps people when cheated by the sellers of instant beauty.

Dr. Batra’s Hair Care became a nightmare for a young prematurely balding Chandigarh boy Harjot Singh, a minor (aged below 18) who hoped that the Positive Health Clinic with its “cutting edge technology” would help his hair to grow back. But to his horror, he ended up losing even his eyebrows with what was advertised as a wonder drug for baldness!

Finally he knocked the doors of Consumer Court. The State Consumer Court ruled in his favour, saying that would get Rs 1 lakh as compensation from Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic Private Limited. This happened in 2013.

The State Consumer Forum also ordered that the clinic refund the Rs. 18,700 taken from Harjot along with Rs. 11,000 as costs. It said: “Evidently, the clinic did not have any specialist or super-specialist to cure hair-loss, and its claim to this effect was highly incorrect. There was no improvement in the hair loss and rather the problem aggravated… thus the clinic was palpably guilty of medical negligence.”

“Undoubtedly, the big advertisements in the newspapers and magazines were misguiding, and the doctors seemed to be more of salesmen and treated patients as if they were helping them for charity,” added the Commission.

The District Consumer Forum (Central) in New Delhi has asked ‘Emami’ to pay up Rs 15 lakh, and Rs 10,000 to a petitioner, after its ‘Fair and Handsome Cream’ which promised to provide fairness to men in three weeks, failed to do so.

That shiny lipstick could cause cancer!

The Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi tested 30 Indian and foreign lipsticks sold in India in 2014, to find out if they contained heavy metals. Their results were disturbing. 50 per cent of the lipsticks tested contained chromium and more than 43 per cent had nickel.

Lipsticks Hearts & Tarts (080V) Shade of ColorBar had the highest concentration of the metal. Chromium is not allowed in India. Such high levels of chromium in lipsticks could cause lung cancer, the CSE has warned.

The CSE asked Hindustan UniLever about the presence of heavy metals in Ponds and Fair & Lovely creams. The firm’s spokesperson said these were naturally occurring during production. Contrary to this claim, the colourants used in them are responsible, says the study.

Of the 30 lipsticks tested for lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel, CSE found mercury present in 44 per cent of fairness creams while 50 per cent lipsticks had chromium and more than 43 per cent had nickel.

Neena Khanna, Professor of Dermatology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences told CSE that there has been a sharp increase in skin problems due to the use of cosmetics.

Sion Hospital in Mumbai has found higher incidence of skin pigmentation and itching around the lips among women using lipsticks.

Beauty products tested mostly using inhumane methods

Lipsticks seem to be the most appalling choices we make. PETA lists the beauty brands tested on animals, and those not tested too. For instance, “L’Oréal, which doesn’t test on animals in the United States, pays for deadly testing in China, where archaic and painful experiments on animals are required for cosmetics,” says PETA.

Others on the black list are: Avon, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Maybelline New York, Estee Lauder, Mary Kay, Victoria’s Secret, benefit San Francisco, Elizabeth Arden, New York, Makeup Forever and many more. These conduct brutal tests using animals in China which insists these be done.

For each of these products PETA gives you names of companies which care for animals and don’t maim and kill them with tests. You can buy them without guilt. Read a book called Living Without Cruelty by Lorraine Kay or visit the PETA website, if you want to know more – you might never want to buy cosmetics again!

In one test, animals were force-fed the human equivalent of 4 lb of lipstick formulation. One animal died of intestinal obstruction. In another test, 7 pints of melted eye shadow was administered to rats. One UK laboratory reported wrapping mice in kitchen foil for ‘grilling’ them under ultraviolet lights to simulate sunburn for testing a sun cream.

Chemicals are instilled into the eyes of conscious rabbits held in stocks. The tests could last for seven days. Rabbits are easy to handle, and sadly, they have big eyes, which are useful for the scientists, says this book.

Shopping for beauty ultimately appears to be not only a stupid choice but also an insanely cruel one!


About Daksha Hathi 6 Articles
Daksha Hathi is a consumer court reporter and writes regularly on consumer issues, health, gardening and the environment, on her website The Canny Catnip Nook, as well as Sulekha.com.