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News updated at 5:49 PM IST

Cheap cosmetics may cost more

Archana Mishra, Feb 7, 2013, DHNS: 21:03 IST

Quality Check

From simple items like kajal and lip gloss which generally find place in every woman’s purse, to coloured cosmetics like nail paint, lip colours, blush-ons, mascaras, cleansers, toners, concealers and foundations, it seems there is no end to cosmetic range in the market today.

The imported personal care industry is one of the fastest growing as more and more foreign brands enter the domestic market.

However, as the multi-crore market is gradually expanding, unsafe cosmetics are also entering the supply chain. Therefore, trying to keep masses at bay from the harmful effects of some products, the Health Ministry has decided to bring imported personal care product industry under the legal purview.

The ministry has approved draft guidelines which bar sales of imported cosmetics in India unless their manufacturers get the products registered with the apex drug regulator Central Drug Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO).

“It is a right move taken by the government to keep a check on the cheap international products that are imported from neighbouring countries,” says Dr Surendra Chawla, Cosmetic Surgeon, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

“Today, the market is flooded with all kinds of imported products. The Chinese cosmetic range is present everywhere. Some might be good but many are not suitable for the Indian skin. They are also make the skin allergic because they have high concentration of certain chemicals which the skin should be least exposed to,” says Dr Surendra.

“The registration and declaration of the chemical composition of raw materials used and finished products will create fear among manufacturers who put lives of their consumers at risk just to generate more revenue,” he says.

Interestingly, the size of the Indian cosmetic industry is estimated to be Rs 230 billion, of which Rs 3000 crore is contributed by imported products.

Dr Anil Malik, a cosmetologist, who works in a private dermatology clinic, presents a broader view behind the regulation. “This move will help keep an eye on cosmeceuticals, which refers to the combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Many times the cosmeceutical manufacturers from different countries try to sell their products in India through dermatologists. Therefore, in order to safeguard the interest of the consumers, the regulations are a must.”

Referring to the odd cases that he come across almost every day while attending to his patients, the cosmetologist says, “It cannot be denied that unscrupulous people diluting the quality of cosmetics are selling their products easily. Many consumers focus on the cost instead of quality and go for the cheap products. They believe they are best because they are from another country. Secondly, they have no clue in what quantities it should be used. This leads to skin problems.”

Even a World Health Organisation (WHO) report warns against the use of skin lightening soaps, creams and cosmetics like eye make-up, cleansing products and mascaras saying these could contain mercury. So, the next time you head for that cosmetic counter, resist the temptation of buying a cheap product, lest it cost you more in the long run!

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