Johnson & Johnson has made a decision to cease the sale of skin whitening creams popular in Asia after its products have come under fire amid the recent global movement against racial discrimination.
The company is to stop selling its Clean & Clear Fairness line of products, according to a report in Reuters, with the Neutrogena Fine Fairness product line, popular in Thailand and Laos, to be discontinued in Asia and the Middle East.
“Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our dark spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone,” Johnson & Johnson was quoted by Reuters as saying. “This was never our intention – healthy skin is beautiful skin.”
The cosmetics company said the products would no longer be produced or shipped, but that they could still appear on store shelves until stocks have run out.
Creams that make promises to lighten or whiten skin are marketed to primarily to women in Asia and the Middle East by some of the world’s largest cosmetics producers, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and L’Oreal under a variety of brands.
Such skin whitening products are heavily consumed in Laos and are generally imported from Thai distributors, accounting for half of the $320 million Thai market for facial creams, according to research firm Nielsen.
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is now the world’s largest skincare market, with approximately 6,277 tonnes of skin lighteners were sold worldwide last year according to Euromonitor International.