In the U.S., it generally costs more to buy fresh produce than it does to buy processed (yet filling) meals, such as a box of Kraft instant macaroni and cheese, a Cup-of-Noodle, or something else that is not particularly healthy for you. It’s part of the reason poor people tend to have worse diets and be more obese — they don’t have enough money to buy what’s good for them, so they go for what’s cheap and filling because they don’t want to starve to death.
In other countries, the costs tend to be more on par or even cheaper. I remember walking around food markets in many other places around the world and marveling over how cheap their produce was. Food in large grocery stores tended to be more expensive than at these markets. With skincare, as I am researching things to buy in Japan for our upcoming trip, skincare that is of a certain quality is relatively so cheap there compared to here. A bottle of equivalent quality cleansing oil that costs about $30 here costs $8-10 there. A $4 mascara in Tokyo would probably cost somewhere between $15-20 here.
The way I look at this is, perhaps if a society values something more and looks at it as vital, then maybe that’s why it’s more reachable in terms of affordability. If we absolutely must have fresh fruit and vegetables, it should be more affordable, right? The same should go for good skincare (sunblock, face creams). The more expensive they are, the more out of reach, and thus fewer people will buy them. If this is true, then I’d think the U.S. just doesn’t value good diet and health (via quality of skin and body through skincare regimen), which would be quite sad.