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Skin lightening for the nether regions – a step too far ?

By Michelle Yeomans , 06-Jun-2012
Last updated on 06-Jun-2012 at 17:25 GMT

An Indian company promoting a shower gel product that provides freshness and ‘fairness’ for more intimate areas has sparked widespread debate and controversary amongst the media and bloggers alike with an advert for its 'clean & dry intimate wash'.

The ad in question targeting Indian women, featured a scenario whereby an attractive lady struggles to attract her man’s attention which - in a nutshell - seemed to be resolved after using this skin lightening intimate wash. 

Since the product’s launch, social media sites and blogs worldwide have exploded with divided opinions, some claiming sexism, others worrying about negative effects on youngsters, while some put forward the argument that Caucasian women wearing tan is in essence - the same thing.

With the global skin lightening market predicted to reach up to $10 billion by 2015, it is fair to say that Asia likes its fairness creams but have manufacturers gone too far this time encouraging women to bleach far beyond their hands and face? Well, Alyque Padamsee, an agency executive for the ‘Clean & Dry intimate wash’ ad says no.

It is hard to deny that fairness creams often get social commentators and activists all worked up. What they should do is take a deep breath and think again.”

Adding; “Lipstick is used to make your lips redder, fairness cream is used to make you fairer-so what’s the problem? I don’t think any Youngistani today thinks the British Raj/White man is superior to us Brown folk. That’s all 1947 thinking!”

When asked why he thinks people like fairness products, Padamsee says; “If you have two beautiful girls, one of them fair and the other dark, you see the fair girl’s features more clearly. This is because her complexion reflects more light.”

Market still booming despite concern

In recent years, the West has taken to skin whitening also, with growth in ethnic population in the UK and US as reasons for accelerating demand.

One of the biggest makers of authorised skin lightening products is Germany-based Beiersdorf, which markets a number of products under the Nivea brand, both to men and women on a global basis.

The only difference is that the products vary in function depending on what part of the world you are in.

For example, consumers in the West often use lighteners for their anti-aging benefits, while the Asian consumer uses them to lighten the overall color and tone of their skin.

Skin care update

Cosmetics Design is gearing up to its second Skin Care Ingredients virtual trade show to be held on June 13, a must attend event for all skin care professionals. For more information or to register click here .

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