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EXCLUSIVE: Johnson & Johnson drops skin-whitening creams

Johnson & Johnson has decided to stop selling skin-whitening creams that, have become very popular in Asia and the Middle East - the beauty standards in the Asian culture embrace the idea that lighter skin is more attractive.

The company said yesterday that such skin-whitening creams have come under renewed social pressure in recent weeks amid a global debate about racial inequality.

The U.S. flag is seen over the company logo for Johnson & Johnson to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company's listing at the NYSE in New York. Image credit Reuters, File Photo

Therefore, Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its Clean & Clear Fairness line of products, sold in India, a spokeswoman declared. It was also reported earlier this month that it would drop its Neutrogena Fine Fairness line, available 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 unique skin tone,” Johnson & Johnson stated. “This was never our intention – healthy skin is beautiful skin.”

The healthcare company said it would no longer produce or ship the products, but that they might still appear on store shelves until stocks run out.

Image credit FMT News

Creams that promise to lighten or brighten skin are marketed primarily to women by the world’s biggest personal care companies, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble and L’Oreal, under their respective brands Fair & Lovely, Olay and Garnier. Yet, these companies did not respond to a request for comment.

It has been counted that about 6,277 tonnes of skin lightener were sold worldwide last year, according to Euromonitor International, including products marketed as anti-ageing creams targeting dark spots or freckles.

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