On Friday, Johnson & Johnson announced it will cease production on two lines of skin-lightening products from Neutrogena and Clean & Clear that are popular overseas. The move comes in the wake of a recent resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, a time of reckoning for many brands and companies with racially insensitive ties.
Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear included products advertised as dark-spot reducers to consumers in Asia and the Middle East. (The products in question were not distributed in the U.S.) “Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our Neutrogena and Clean & Clear dark-spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone,” the company said in a statement, via The New York Times. “This was never our intention — healthy skin is beautiful skin.” Per the Times, Johnson & Johnson says these products will stop being produced, shipped, or linked to. However, they will remain on shelves physically until stock runs out.
Last week Band-Aid, another Johnson & Johnson brand, announced it would begin selling bandages to match non-white skin tones. “We are committed to launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones that embrace the beauty of diverse skin,” the company’s Instagram post read, in part. “We are dedicated to inclusivity and providing the best healing solutions, better representing you. In addition, we will be making a donation to @blklivesmatter. We promise that this is just the first among many steps together in the fight against systemic racism.”
Other companies to evolve past harmful racial stereotypes in response to the Black Lives Matter movement include, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Uncle Ben’s. Aunt Jemima’s name and image will be changed, while the latter two products will alter their “visual brand identity.”
While the removal of skin lightening products from Johnson & Johnson is a step forward, it’s far from the only corporation to sell such products. J&J is the only brand to remove skin lightening products, with other brands hopefully following suit.