The Paris City Council wishes to warn people concerned, mostly women, of the dangers of whitening dark skins and especially from the use of some products, illegal or diverted from their original use.
The campaign includes a serie of poster displays, an educational comic strip entitled Ebony Beauty and an educational booklet on the dangers of lightening creams. It is mainly focused on the Parisian districts mostly affected by this phenomenon (eighteenth, nineteenth and tenth districts).
The Paris City Council evaluates that about 20% of women of African origin living in the French capital use lightening products, a number of them containing hydroquinone and topical corticosteroids the use of which, for such purposes, is prohibited in cosmetics. Several police operations aiming to dismantle networks importing and distributing illegal products have already been conducted in Paris in previous years. However, the demand for these creams remains high among women who consider they are more efficient than legal products.
The French Federation of Beauty Enterprises (FEBEA), which includes major French manufacturers of cosmetic products has endeavored to point out that this issue was related to the use of illegal products, which consumers often buy on the internet and that safe solutions were available.
Such products meant to whiten or lighten the skin are widely used in Africa, India and Asia, and in communities originally from these countries, established in Europe. In India, their use has recently been condemned by some politicians and members of Parliament.