Sun Phobia Among Asian Women: Obsession with White Skin

whitelegsI’ve been traveling in Asia for several months now and have noticed a trend in several countries here. It seems the trend toward having a “healthy tan” in America is not the same view held by Asian women. In fact, it seems it is the polar opposite. From what I have observed among Asian women, bleached, ghost-white skin is considered sexy and Asian women who go to great lengths to keep legs, arms and faces as white and untanned as possible.

Asians spend an estimated $18 billion a year to appear pale. “Asians like white skin,” said Dr. Hsieh Ya Ju, a dermatologist at MacKay Memorial Hospital in Hsingchu, who sees about 25 patients a day. Outside Hsieh’s office, four middle-aged chalky-skinned women sat patiently awaiting treatments that cost $300 to $500 per session. They are there to take pills that Hsieh says will help their skin turn white. Doctors in Taiwan also use lasers, creams, surgeries and other means to lighten skin.

glovesElbow-Length Gloves

In Japan, these elbow length gloves are super popular. You’ll seem about half of the females wearing them. They take them off in-doors, but put them back on when going out into sunlight. The photo here is of our Japanese friend Yukina who posed for the photo and patiently explained about when she wears the gloves and why she feels them necessary.

Daylight Umbrellas Everywhere

Umbrellas are not just for rain in Asia, in fact, they seem to be equally popular for avoiding the sun. Many umbrellas are coated on the top or bottom with the silver UV blocking material that you might sometimes see on pop-up awnings in the USA.

Summer Jackets

It could be a blistering 95 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit and you’ll see women wearing jackets. These women are not cold, they are simply avoiding the sun and prefer to be roasting hot rather than get any sort of sun tan.

fullcoveringFull-Body Protection

In Korea is saw many women covered from head to foot with not even a finger exposed. The woman pictured to the right had a hat on, sunglasses and a cloth wrapped around her face also covering her neck. She had full length gloves and leggings. At first I thought maybe it was some sort of extreme skin condition, but when I saw several women in one day dressed similarly, I began to realize it might be part of the same sun phobia behavior I had seen elsewhere.

Sunblock Lotion Not Often Used

Apparently some Asian women wear sunblock lotion, however, the majority don’t like the feel of the lotion and many believe it is unhealthy to put on the skin. Instead, they choose one of the other options above.

1 comment

  1. i think its a balance of how much everybody should get seriously.


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