Is Asia taking skin lightening too far?

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Is Asia taking skin lightening too far?

Related tags Skin whitening

With the global skin lightening market predicted to reach up to $10 billion by 2015, it's fair to say that Asia likes its brightening creams, but have brands gone too far, encouraging women to bleach the most intimate areas? 

Although skin-whitening products have long been developed to lighten the face and hands, the trend has changed with brands driving desire for light-coloured skin in more ‘intimate’ areas, the most recent being a cream claiming to mask dark patches on the nipple area.

Made in Japan, ‘Pinky Queen’ is a cream claiming to act as ‘a savior for some ladies, giving them a boost in confidence​’, and comes with a recommendation that it be used 4-5 times a week.

This may be shocking to the reader that hasn't heard about the shower gel launched last year designed to bring ‘fairness’ for more intimate areas.

The ad for that product featured a scenario where an attractive lady struggles to gain her man’s attention which - in a nutshell - seemed to be resolved after using this skin lightening intimate wash.

In terms of a breakdown as to the most users of products like this, Japan represents the largest market worldwide, particularly women.

Skin lightening in the West

Skin lightening is a relatively smaller market in the West when compared to Asia. There, skin lighteners are primarily marketed as anti-ageing products that are intended to deliver benefits such as reduction of freckles and spots.

In the US and the UK, rising demand for skin whiteners is attributed to the increase in immigration and the resulting expansion in the base of ethnic groups.

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 

Speaking of skin care, Cosmetics Design is gearing up for its fourth Skin Care Ingredients virtual trade show to be held on June 18, a must attend event for all skin care professionals. 

To learn more about the latest consumer and market insights, scientific developments and technical innovations set to be discussed at the event, click here.

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