Johnson & Johnson to selling skin lightening creams in India and Middle East

Johnson & Johnson – the company responsible for popular beauty brands Neutrogena and Clean & Clear – will be discontinuing its skin lightening range.

The health and personal care retailer is no longer producing or shipping products in the Neutrogena Fine Fairness line, sold in Asia and the Middle East and Clean & Clear’s Clear Fairness line, available in India.

The company says its products don’t have bleach but include ingredients like retinol which can lighten spots on the skin.

The move comes following mainstream conversations on race and the perception of lighter skin as beautiful, the brand said in a statement to Reuters.

In the areas where Johnson & Johnson’s items were popular, such as in India, skin lightening creams are one of the biggest beauty staples.

As of 2012, Unilever’s infamous Fair & Lovely occupied 80% of the fairness cream market in India and is one of Hindustan Unilever’s most successful cosmetics lines.

But Fair & Lovely has faced criticisms for many years and recently a petition has circulated to stop its sale.

Johnson & Johnson wrote in a statement: ‘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.

‘This was never our intention – healthy skin is beautiful skin.’

The beauty industry has come under fire for controversial products many times.

In 2017, Nivea received backlash for marketing a skin lightening in lotion in Africa.

It’s not just cosmetics companies rethinking their methods.

Pancake and syrup brand Aunt Jemima’s is also changing its logo after recognising the origins are rooted in racial stereotypes playing on minstrel characteristics.