April 16, 2010

Big business

Skin whitening products are big business in the Philippines. Except for those with strong Chinese or Spanish blood, most Filipinos are medium brown (kayumanggi) to dark brown (moreno). Needless to say, many Filipino women are not happy with that fact and go through great pains and expense to lighten their skin tone. In fact, we're the only country I know of that advertises glutathione as a skin whitener rather than an antioxidant or detoxifier. The neighboring Laneíge (South Korean) and Shiseido (Japanese) stores in Trinoma caught my eye because their most prominent window displays are for skin whiteners.

Laneìge shop in Trinoma

Shiseido shop in Trinoma

I find it especially ironic because the tourists who come to our many beautiful beaches spend hours and days sunbathing trying to get the darkest tan that they can get.

18 comments:

Al said...

Like you said, there is a real irony. I find it sad that in our "enlightened" world so much emphasis is still placed on skin color.

Louis la Vache said...

Ironic indeed - a classic case of "the grass being greener on the other side of the road".

Philip said...

Skin whitening is also big in Japan! Though, I doubt these products really 'whiten' the skin per se but rather make it brighter:D

Kaori said...

Japan is definately into whitening products! Well, it's more about clear freckle-free skin than white, but you should see some of the people walking around in the summer. They look like death with their black sun umbrella, huge black hat, and long black gloves to wear with their tshirts ;D

pia said...

you're right, Hilda. Filipinas (and a growing numbers of pinoys too!) are too obssessed with skin whitening! to think i try to stay under the sun as much as i can because i love being out in the sun. of course i'd be a hypocrite if i said i don't use skin lighteners to even out the nasty freckles i get when i stay out under the sun too much but i think we, as a nation, are missing out on what makes us extremely beautiful: our brown skin.

ρομπερτ said...

For sure one of the greatest challenges, to feel right within ones own skin.
In my opinion, a very important entry of yours, making one think, who's "writing our lifes".
Wishing you a nice Friday.

daily athens

brattcat said...

This post probes the more-than-skin-deep problem of self-image and its complex effects in such a thoughtful way, Hilda.

Misalyn said...

Ironic indeed! Emaratis are into whitening products too :) Belo soap and other products are available here in the UAE.

T. Becque said...

I had no idea. And you're right, most white people I know go to great lengths to make themselves brown. It's all so senseless, but then I've done other things in name of vanity.

Vernz said...

reverse psycho .. nyahahaha! but the last one is so expensive ... i'd rather use natural...

Cezar and Léia said...

Very interesting post Hilda, here in Europe there are many places when you can make an artificial tanned skin.I dont think it should be healthy.
And the opposite,I mean, clear skin, I also think it would not be healthy.
Hugs
Léia

AL said...

Are they effective? Haha. No for skin whitening products! I love the color of my skin and I am so proud of it!

Lois said...

I was thinking the same thing about the sunbathers! I guess there will always be people who are not satisfied with the way they look.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is beautiful !! I loved this post !!

cieldequimper said...

I think it's pretty sad not to be able to accept oneself regardless of skin colour...

Rob and Mandy said...

It is very trendy in India as well. And in the south of Spain, where people tend to be quite dark. Are we living in a world full of Michael Jacksons???

Dina said...

It makes me sad to read this.

Julie said...

Wow I did not know that! How can they do that?Well, the crazy thing is this: last year I travelled to Argentina. I stayed in several apartments in Buenos Aires and I started to see stores and businesses that were for people to darken their skin. Apparently, most Argentineans are European descendants and they think they are very white so they want to have a nice tan. This confirms the theory: nobody is happy with what they have!
Jules