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'Dark is Beautiful' movement takes on unfair India

Looking to find a husband, make friends, and get ahead at work? Then you need to have lighter skin. That's the all-pervasive message in India, and it's something that one actress is fighting to overturn. The new poster girl of the "Dark is Beautiful" campaign, Nandita Das, has called out India's obsession with fair skin -- a prejudice she says has driven some young women to the brink of suicide. "Magazines, TV, cinema -- everywhere being fair is synonymous with being beautiful," Das told AFP.

Unilever apologies for Thai skin whitening campaign

A Thai subsidiary of consumer goods giant Unilever apologised Wednesday for a controversial competition for students to promote its skin whitening product, saying it did not intend "racial discrimination". The "Citra 3D Brightening Girls Search" offered prizes including cash "scholarships" from a fund of around 100,000 baht ($3,200) for female university students who send in photos of themselves holding its body lotion.

Unilever brand apologizes over Thai skin whitening campaign

A Thai company owned by consumer goods giant Unilever apologized Wednesday over a competition that promoted its skin whitening product by offering cash prizes to students, saying it did not intend "racial discrimination." Citra Thailand said the campaign asking female university students to send in photos of themselves holding its body lotion was aimed at encouraging "many Thai consumers who desire to lighten their skin" to experience the efficacy of its products.

Unilever whitening brand defends cash prize for Thai students

A Thai company owned by consumer goods giant Unilever on Tuesday rejected accusations of discrimination after its competition featuring a skin whitener and offering university "scholarships" was seen as favouring paler-skinned students. Citra Thailand, which describes itself as a leading brand for "white skin products", has aired a television advert set on a university campus in which two presenters ask female students what would make them "outstanding in uniform".

Taiwan to ban Kanebo whitening substance

Taiwan will ban Kanebo Cosmetics Inc.'s skin-whitening chemical substance following consumer complaints of white blotches, the island's health authorities said Monday. Lu Li-fu, spokesman of the Food and Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said the ban will come into force as soon as this week after all necessary procedures are completed. Lu said 47 users are confirmed to have developed symptoms relating to the blotches since Kanebo Taiwan began to import skin-whitening products from Japan in 2011.

Japan firm says skin stain complaints top 7,000

Japanese cosmetics maker Kanebo said Monday the number of complaints about skin discolouring from using its whitening products has topped 7,000 from customers both at home and abroad. Last month, the company announced a recall of 54 of its products that contained a substance called 4HPB, a synthetic version of a natural compound developed by Kanebo. A company spokesman also said it would pay medical costs for any customers who had been left with uneven colouring of their skin, even after they stopped using the products.

Kanebo Cosmetics in Taiwan investigates complaints about products

Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. in Taiwan said Wednesday it is looking into complaints by customers who saw patchy whitening of their skin after using Kanebo products, including face lotions. According to the company's public relations specialist Fiona Lin, 181 customers complained, with 123 cases currently being investigated. She said 58 of the cases are not connected to the use of Kanebo products.

Consumer agency raps Kanebo for belated response to doctor's alert

The chief of the Consumer Affairs Agency criticized Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. on Wednesday for having been slow in responding to a dermatologist's alert on the appearance of white blotches on the skin of users of its skin-whitening cosmetics. Hisashi Anami, director general of the agency, said at a news conference, "If the company had called on the users to stop using the products earlier in May when it received the alert, it could have lessened the harmful consequences, even to a small degree."

Japan firm widens recall after skin stain complaints

Cosmetics maker Kanebo said Tuesday more than 2,000 Japanese had complained about skin discolouring after using its whitening products, as it widened its consumer recall outside Japan. The company also said it had agreed to pay medical costs for people in Japan who had been left with uneven colouring of their skin, even after they stopped using the products. Earlier this month the company announced the recall from retailers all over Asia and Britain of a total of 54 cosmetics containing a substance called 4HPB, a synthetic version developed by Kanebo of a natural compound.

Japan's Kanebo recalls cosmetics over skin stain fears

Japanese cosmetics maker Kanebo on Thursday announced it was recalling 54 skin whitening products from all over Asia after complaints they caused discolouring that does not clear up even after use was discontinued. The cosmetics contain a substance called 4HPB, a synthetic version developed by Kanebo of a natural compound, the company said. "Some consumers complained that they had white patches on their skin after using the products, and we suspect a link between the condition and 4HPB," a spokeswoman said.
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