Home Beauty & Wellness In All Fairness: Is the category a dark reality?

In All Fairness: Is the category a dark reality?


Since time immemorial, Indians have been obsessed with fairness, so much so that it has become a debilitating mindset. To usher in a new world infused with fresh perspective, it is imperative to educate and sensitise the public on health and not ‘colour’. With this in mind, the government has proposed an awareness drive on the adverse effects of steroid-heavy whitening products and services. To not let it affect their business, beauty brands, spas and dermatologists are now advising skin brightening solutions, instead. Salon India speaks to medical experts and brands in the industry for their take on the matter



Views on the category: Flawless clear skin is the first impression, so, one should not be obsessed with fair skin. Instead one needs to focus on seeking those treatments that lend a glow to the skin and remove pigmentation. Fairness services and products in India should not exploit the human emotions to look fair and feel superior, rather they should be marketed as a treatment for tanned skin. About 50 per cent of patients come to us seeking a fairer complexion. A lighter skin tone is considered a superior trait amongst men and women of our country. There is also higher incidence of pigmentary disorders in Indian skin type, which further increases their obsession for fair complexion, not only for themselves, but for their spouses, too.

Services offered at the clinic: A wide variety of treatments are offered as skin lightening and glow treatments. We do not market them as treatments to induce fair complexion. They include IV Glutathione, which is one of the most potent anti-oxidants used to reduce melanogenesis, and hence pigmentation, by various mechanisms. The most crucial is the inhibition of tyrosinase activity and suppression of free radicals; Mesotherapy with cocktails containing Glutathione, Arbutin, Vitamin C, Lactic Acid and Tranexemic Acid, which is very effective in treating Melasma and reversing pigmentation post a sun tan. Then, chemical peels such as, Glycolic peel, Lactic peel, combination peels and the yellow peel to lighten freckles and treat Melasma, Acanthosis Nigricans, Lichen Planus Pigmentosus and lightening post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. We offer Microdermabrasion to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface and aid in glow and lightening; Q Switch Nd Yag laser targets Melanin at multiple levels and treats freckles, Melasma and even Nevus of Ota; and skin lightening creams and serums such as, Vitamin C Serum, Glycolic Acid Serums, creams containing Arbutin, Hydroquinone, Niacinamide, Vitamin E, and others.

Marketing strategies adopted: We promote and support flawless, clear skin. Everybody deserves it! Skin lightening treatments are not used to induce fairness, but as a solution to get rid of brown spots and uneven skin tone. They can even help lighten birth marks.

Challenges faced: No skin treatment gives permanent results. It is extremely essential to have patience and be consistent when taking any skin treatment, especially for skin lightening. Best results are achieved when a combination approach is used, which includes use of skin care products, intake of oral supplements and in-clinic treatments. Some people do not want to invest so much in skin care and some cannot afford these treatments, hence feel dejected when they take incomplete treatments and do not get adequate or desired results.

Future plans: I completely believe and support ‘prevention’ than ‘cure’! It is is essential to educate the society about sunscreens, antioxidant serums and oral supplements so that they can enjoy an even skin tone and flawless skin. Obsession with ‘fair’ skin should not be promoted, however, we should support healthy, glowing skin. If any patient suffers from a sun tan or any pigmentary disorder, skin lightening products and services are the perfect tools to achieve healthy clear skin. Today and even in the future we will always support flawless, clear and healthy skin and not ‘fairness’.



Views on the category: Fairness products and treatments are on high demand among Indians. Also the cultural value attached to fairness is very prominent in our country. You will be surprised to know that almost six out of 10 customers ask for skin lightning and fairness therapies. While internationally tanned looks are trending, Indians are not comfortable with it. What’s more, it is not only the fairness or brightened look that a customer desires, but he or she is also looking for flawless and even-toned skin texture. While there are plenty of international fairness products available at retail beauty stores, one must choose a product as per the skin quality and requirement. The focus should not be on quick results, but care and safety.

Services offered at the spa: There are a variety of skin brightening and fairness services. For clearer and even-toned skin, our Brightening Facial, retail home care, exfoliation and enzyme application are popular. There are seasonal facials where natural active ingredients like, fruit extracts from Papaya and Strawberry are used. The natural enzymes have a mild peeling action, which stimulates brightening.

Marketing strategies adopted: At Renaissance Mumbai, we promote our various services online through our website and our social media platforms. We have a great clientele who has confidence in our services and they promote us to their friends and family based purely on their fantastic experience.

Challenges faced: There are no challenges per se. Beauty as such is a dynamic industry. There are new researches shared regularly and new products that are introduced in the market. It is important to keep up with the new findings and equipment to keep the spa and salon updated with the latest in technology.

Future plans: We believe in providing services for luxurious relaxation, and focus on wholesome rejuvenation of the body and mind. Fairness is one of the many unique services that we provide and we shall continue to add new products and therapies to our list.



Views on the category: I believe our skin needs to be restored and healed, and peeling is not the solution to a skin concern. In order to fight darkening, one must ensure high levels of hydration, an effective hydrolipidic film and control UV exposure. I advise customers to carry out research on the ingredients used in cosmetic preparations before adopting them. Almost everyone in India aspires to be fairer, and I do not see whitening products or services phasing out anytime soon. It is the need of the hour considering the harsh environmental aggressors that further deteriorate the skin’s condition. Bleaching, a popular service, is one of the most dangerous vaporising activities that invites deeper UV penetration post bleaching. I urge women to quit this useless service as pigmentation problems get further accelerated by it. I think a skin clinic that has quality Laser activities can help achieve an even-toned skin, but without the use of peels and bleaches which leave your skin way too sensitive and pigmentation prone.

Products offered: Fairness is a tricky subject and in the name of fairness, cosmetic companies are trying hard to find new peptides and ingredients that offer pigment suppression results. We, at the Medispa Group, constantly work with the latest supplements and ingredients that are approved by FDA to prevent any possible damage or adverse effect on our consumers.

Future plans: We have been working on Deep Plant Stem Cell and Hyaluronic Acid peptides to achieve deep dermal hydration. We have also successfully incorporated the AIPL and Q-Switch 1064 nm to remove pigment spots and bring overall cellular rejuvenation. I always tell my clients to be patient. Products that claim magical results are often mysterious!



Views on the category: Around 40 per cent of patients come to us asking for detan or brightening therapies. While my personal opinion is that detan procedures are good, one must also beleive that one is born with a type of complexion and we have to respect that. We should not over expect our doctors to bless us with a completely different skin colour.

Services offered at the clinic: Our clinic has Microdermabrasion, Glutathione injection therapy, skin brightening peels and Q Switch Nd YAG laser for pigmentation. We use natural brightening agents like Vitamin C and Arbutin for Mesotherapy, as they rejuvenate and brighten the skin.

Marketing strategies adopted: As a dermatologist, at the clinic, we do not promote fairness. If a patient has pigmentation due to a dermatological disorder, then trying to correct it with a fairness treatment will be wrong.

Challenges faced: Any treatment done for fairness is likely to be temporary. There is no treatment available that can change the genetic condition and complexion of one’s skin. So continuous maintenance therapy will be required.

Future plans: We do not plan to introduce or add any fairness inducing therapy



Views on the category: Indian society still focuses on fair skin and women spend their energy buying fairness creams and investing in various invasive and non-invasive methods. We support the ‘Confidence breeds beauty’ idealogy, and offer services which help our patients get rid of dull and dead skin leaving them with a fresh, rejuvenated and healthy looking skin. Our treatments do not focus exclusively on fairness of the skin. 50 to 60 per cent of our consumers demand a fairer and improved complexion.

Services offered at the clinic: We offer non-invasive services which help in recovering the lost glow and improve the complexion. Medlite C6 aka Q-switched Nd-YAG Laser improves the skin tone, elasticity and pore size that results in youthful and fresh appearing skin. Medlite is very famous for its Photo Acoustic effect, which combines high power and nanosecond pulse width in order to deliver peak energy throughout the epidermal layers faster than the relaxation time of tissue so as to effectively harness the peak power and provide best results. During the procedure, the laser light which has a photomechanical effect on skin pigmentation is used to break down the pigments into very small particles which are then flushed out by the body’s own metabolic process. Then, Diamond Polishing or Microdermabrasion, which is a technique to polish the skin with soft diamonds that are fixed on tips that electronically move on the skin. This is useful in removing dead cells, tanning, softening wrinkles, scars, and improve the overall complexion. The removal of this outer layer causes stimulation of new cell production in the underlying layers to renew the surface layer. It is a gentle treatment, which does not cause any damage, resulting in a fresh radiant appearance along with improved texture of skin and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. The Skin Circulation Therapy improves blood circulation under the skin, treats dehydrated skin, blemishes, acne scars and dark circles. It eventually results in improved complexion, clarity and glow. The Hydraying Electroporation Therapy is a non-invasive modality, which penetrates actives like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, Oligo Peptides, and other extracts deeper into the skin. It helps in deep hydration, skin toning and firming. The Lightening Electroporation Therapy, a non-invasive modality, penetrates actives like Arbutin, Kojic Acid, Vitamin C, and others deeper into the skin. It helps in skin lightening and brightening and leaves the skin looking radiant.

Marketing strategies adopted: Both online and offline strategies work the best. Websites are an informative digital media channel, which helps us to keep the consumers updated with our latest dermatology procedures and treatments. Social media marketing helps to build a strong social media presence, which is essential in today’s time. Another efficient way it to stand out by providing outstanding experiences to our patients. Our experts at Skin Alive are passionate and dedicated about addressing the concerns of the patients and give their best to them, from the first to the last step, and even the follow ups. We also take patient reviews very seriously. This enables us in maintaining a healthy patient relationship.

Challenges faced: There is a need to educate the patients about the importance of healthy skin. Apart from derma facials, our lifestyle also plays a major role. Secondly, we need to encourage and counsel our patients about the regular usage of sunblock. As Indians, do not have the habit of regular application of a sunscreen, which ideally should be every two hours. It protects our skin from the harmful UV rays, which affect the complexion ultimately.

Future plans: We are always researching for new services which involve de-tanning, improving the complexion and are eager to cater to other skin related issues.



Views on the category: Based on the data produced by Nielsen, fairness products top the list where penetration is concerned. When it comes to salon services, products addressing fairness are in demand. Even if the primary concerns of the client are acne, sensitivity, and more, customers expect fairness to be an implied and expected outcome. Since facials are expected to be more beneficial than home care, there is a need to enhance fairness combined with clearer skin as an important deliverable from salon services. Clients often feel dissatisfied if the facial does not show instant glow. Beauticians often share that ‘glow’ is a favourite word of clients when they ask for the expected benefits. Thus, brands are trying to incorporate this consumer insight into their services and products to cater to the demand of fairness enhancement.

Products offered by the brand: Cheryl’s Cosmeceuticals has multiple offerings that cater to different concerns and lead to a complexion that is visibly transformed. Some of these include GloVite that takes care of dullness and under nourished skin, TanClear visibly reduces tan with the help of Tri-system of AHAs, and the OxyBlast facial that is designed for radiance. Further we have treatments like DermaLite and O2C2 that lend a radiant complexion. We believe in a holistic view and hence the home care is a part of recommendation and the beautician recommends that basis the skin type. As research is developing with each day, the industry is using more natural ingredients in their products as there is a rising trend of preferring natural and organic products. We understand this and so, develop our products using scientificallyproven herbal actives and bio-technological ingredients. The cosmeceutical formulae are essentially designed with actives that are derived from natural sources and then concentrated. Some of our natural products include Pomegranate extract in our Dermashade Sunblocks, Olive Oil extract in our facials and Aloe Vera in our Oxyderm range. We make sure that each product goes through stringent tests to ensure safety and efficiency.

Scope for innovation in the category: Every category requires innovation otherwise it tends to lose its relevance with its customers. Our Heel Peel, for example, is one of our most innovative products. It clears cracked heels in flat 20 minutes, leaving soft and smooth heels. The instant nature of this innovation makes it popular among clients who require immediate results. Innovation in using machines is key to showing the superiority of service. We have introduced multiple hand-held machines to add to the service for the client. For example, our simple tool for hot and cold massages equips the beautician to deliver the client’s requirement.

Marketing strategies adopted: One of the key marketing strategies that we believe in is education. We feel it is of paramount importance that the beauticians themselves are thoroughly aware of the services, products, benefits, and other issues. Our beauty experts are given in-depth skin knowledge and how to ensure that the client gets the best service based on an accurate diagnosis. Our certified programmes add credibility to their expertise which they achieve once the beautician completes the advanced levels. Also, the beautician needs to understand what fairness means beyond just cleansing. In addition, we work very closely with salons to help them cater to clients in multiple ways. From creating skin led flagships, to skin scan days that connect our experts directly with the consumer, we are always pursuing to empower the skin care industry.

Challenges faced: There are multiple challenges that the fairness category faces. Firstly, education of the beautician as it is challenging to get the beautician to think beyond generic fairness. The demand for personalised service is increasing daily and the lack of knowledge may lead to the beautician applying the same products and services for all. But one solution does not fit all and is definitely not a long-term success strategy. Hence, educating them in higher skin care courses to become skin experts is essential. Then, the increasingly demanding clients, who are aware of Indian and global products and services, and so, have expectations from a service. To be able to deliver to the client’s specific requirement, we are focusing increasingly on diagnosis led recommendation. Here the knowledge of the beautician plays an integral role as they educate the clients about their own skin type and its needs. We see multiple clients with sensitive skin which is prone to several skin problems and every product does not suit them. Hence, we always use with our sensitivity range in such cases, which includes SensiGlow facial, SensiAcne treatment and SensiNzyme treatment. Despite being designed for treating sensitivity, they also address fairness related demands. Lastly, clearer skin versus fairness. There is a high demand in services that address tanning, blemishes and open pores.

Future plans: We aim to offer more problem-targeted solutions. Thus, our products and services are oriented towards fairness as a basic deliverable. We have always believed that it is essential to keep innovative new technologies to cater to our client’s specific needs and we will continue to improve our services as we go ahead.



Views on the category: My views on the fairness coaster is very simple – as long as you are comfortable, convenient and convinced about your colour, whatever it may be, stick to it until and unless you suffer from low confidence levels or are conscious about the colour of your skin. As the society we live in is biased towards fairness, we get many queries during the wedding season from both brides and grooms. Even the college going students are becoming conscious of such treatments.

Services offered at the clinic: Our specialised treatment for fairness is the Eximus White and includes an array of services for skin whitening. There are peels for whitening and depending upon the skin type the right peel is selected, Mesotherapy, whitening facials, Laser treatments with the advanced Q-switch and medical treatments. The Teeth whitening service also goes hand in hand with skin whitening.

Marketing strategies adopted: We at Clinic Eximus promote consumer awareness through knowledge. We believe if you are correctly informed about the pros and cons of a treatment, you will make a responsible choice. We conduct a lot of workshops around awareness for patients, and share videos for people to understand and decide consciously.

Challenges faced: The biggest is the aspiration of clients in terms of treatment outcome. We have to be realistic about it and the duration of the treatment required. Skin whitening does not happen overnight and takes a few months to show the desired result. This should be kept in mind while planning treatment ahead of important events like weddings.

Future plans: Till the time our obsession with the fairness does not end, this industry is set to boom. Thanks to the present trend, skin whitening is quite in fashion and a treatment of choice for brides and grooms.



Views on the category: Historically, people across India have demonstrated a marked preference for skin lightening and brightening. It is a consumer-desired attribute amongst people in countries across Asia and Africa.

Products offered by the brand: Lotus Professional have especially formulated facial ranges and home care products for skin whitening and brightening. In the Facial range, the Instafair Facial is a concentrated herbal active that makes the skin fairer and brighter; 4 Layer Advanced Whitening Facial prevents occurrence of spots and reduces melanin for a uniform and translucent complexion; Preservita Advanced Bearberry Marmalade Facial is a powerful fruit detoxifier that rehydrates and restores balance to lack lustre skin. It is excellent for skin whitening and radiance; Ultimo Oyster Pearl tones and rejuvenates dull complexion and reconstructs the skin, making it smoother and supple. Oyster Pearl calms, detoxifies, protects from environmental radicals and regulates skin discolouration; dermoSpa Japanese Sakura Skin Whitening & Lightening Facial promotes melanin synthesis and keeps skin bright and clear. Also reduces skin roughness and has an anti-inflammation effect; Lotus Professional also offers PhytoRx Whitening & Brightening Face Wash, PhytoRx Whitening & Brightening Day Crème, PhytoRx Whitening Brightening Night Crème, PhytoRx Whitening & Brightening Serum as part of the home care range that helps one get a fair complexion. All the Lotus Professional products are formulated using highest quality natural actives. Lotus Professional PhytoRx range is organic, preservativefree and free of artificial colour and fragrance.

Scope for innovation in the category: Innovation is the core strength of Lotus Professional. Whenever we bring something into the market, we always use innovative and exotic ingredients to give the best possible result to our clients. In the days to come the market will see a lot of innovative products from our stable.

Marketing strategies adopted: Education is one of our primary tools to propagate information about our revolutionary products by imparting technical training to salon staff and beauticians. Also, we create awareness among our taget group through articles and advertorials on relevant forums. Other promotional vehicles like salon branding, advertisement in print publications and digital campaigns form an integral part of our marketing campaign. We have a robust distribution network with a reach of around 16,000 salons and spas spread across India. Our marketing campaigns enable us to create a pull factor for our products which in turn increases footfalls in the salons and lead to further consumption and application of Lotus Professional products.

Challenges faced: The professional beauty care industry in India is not organised and as a result, the market has not yet reached its peak potential. In a way it is also an opportunity for us because it presents more growth opportunities. Also there are a lot of misconceptions based on the fairness category like it promotes social inequality, which we think is grossly misplaced.

Future plans: In 2018, Lotus Professional will bring new innovative products into the market. Some of the products will not only be the first in India, but the first in Asia, too. We are going to revolutionise the Indian professional beauty market and the fairness category will also be a part of that drive.