India’s metros are famous for their vibrant markets and cheap products that can otherwise cost a fortune in retail stores, but they are also notorious for selling fake products manufactured in China. Yes, the Nivea moisturizer and Olay anti-ageing cream you got for a steal may actually be fake. While that in itself may not be worrying (or a surprise), these fake cosmetics pose a serious health risk.

Over the past few years there have been several reports of police raiding sellers’ stores and seizing fake products. A few years ago, Delhi Police seized spurious cosmetics and creams worth Rs 50 lakh from Delhi’s famous Sadar Bazar, while Mumbai Police seized fake Garnier Fructis and Studio line brand cosmetics worth over Rs 80 lakhs! That however, represents just a fraction of the illegal market that deals in fake cosmetics from China. As consumers who are always looking for a good bargain, we are often drawn to flea markets and bazaars that stock such products, but is it really worth the risk? While buying a pirated dvd or a fake Gucci bag is unlikely to cause any unpleasant rash or hair loss, fake cosmetics pose a very clear risk.

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