This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Beauty Business

(Written way back in early 2006)

A relative of mine, a girl in her teens, recently fell off her bed and broke her hip. Odd, wouldn't you say? This sort of thing might happen to an elderly lady with osteoporosis, but to a teenager?
Then the penny dropped.
This silly girl took a beautician's advice and didn't expose herself to the sun at all unless she was slathered with sunblock. She'd become dark, you see, horror of horrors. So she gave herself a nice good case of Vitamin D deficiency. Quite common in India. Keeping oneself strictly away from the sun is highly recommended by beauticians, since beauty lies in pigmentation more than anything...
So a teenager can have advanced osteoporosis like a postmenopausal woman who has not taken calcium supplements.
Not to mention the "fairness products"...
Just read columns in newspapers like that of Suparna Trikha Dewan in The Telegraph, Calcutta. At least half the questions every week are on becoming or remaining fair, and Dewan enthusiastically promotes sunscreen and sandalwood paste (I wonder what good that does, but more anon). The cures she suggests are so wonderful, so breathtakingly intelligent, that they, er, take one's breath away.
One of La Dewan's formulations is rainwater for pimples. Rainwater, she says explicitly, "has valuable minerals" which purify the skin. Excuse me? Rainwater, as any school geography textbook tells, is water evaporated from water bodies that condenses around dust particles in the upper atmosphere. How can this have any minerals? It's just pure water plus dust. Why does no one call her on this?
This same woman used to have a consultant dentist on her column but I guess he got tired of her stupidities. She is back to using her good old tooth whitener: "Rub your teeth with salt in lemon juice." Wonderful. The lemon juice will dissolve the outer layer of enamel and the abrasive salt will rub it away.
I don't even want to know how deadly the rest of her recommendations are.
I just want to ask: do these people have the faintest idea of what they are doing?
A few days ago I read of a woman who won a case in consumer court against a salon which made her half bald after a straightening and dyeing job. It took her eight years to get justice and compensation, and the salon's defence was that the procedure is inherently dangerous and she is therefore to blame for getting it done. Wow! Impeccable logic!
I'd even say beauty-ful logic...

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