The ad, for the Nivea invisible deodorant range, has since been deleted from Facebook.
Nivea, which has 19 million fans on its global Facebook page, was directed to Middle East social media users.
An image of a woman wearing a white bathrobe was accompanied by the tagline "white is purity". Alongside the image, Nivea posted the message, "Keep it clean, keep bright. Don’t let anything ruin it, #invisible.
In a statement, Nivea’s owners Beiersdorf said it accepted the post was misleading and was immediately withdrawn in response to "concerns" about ethnic discrimination.
It went on to say, "We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post. After realising that the post is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn.
"Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea. The brand represents diversity, tolerance, and equal opportunity.
"We value difference. Direct or indirect discrimination must be ruled out in all decisions by, and in all areas of our activities."