Nivea has apologised for an advert which suggests that black people aren't civilized.

The print ad shows a clean-shaven black man about to throw away a bearded mask of his own face with a big afro, under the headline "Re-Civilize Yourself".

Nivea received a huge backlash over the advert, with people writing comments on the company's Facebook page with remarks like "Nivea no longer welcomed in my household".

People have also called for singer Rihanna, Nivea's spokeswoman, to break ties with the company.

Nivea responded by writing an apology on its Facebook wall.

"Thank you for caring enough to give us your feedback about the recent 'Re-civilized' NIVEA FOR MEN ad. This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of our company."