Whiter skin the better? Thailand’s media fuelled skin colour culture.

Many of us living in Thailand are well aware of the societal pressure to have fair skin. In fact, it’s quite common to hear someone being complimented on their “beautiful white skin” in Thailand. This cultural trend has been perpetuated by various factors over the years, including historical influences, pop culture, and the increasing peer pressure of social media.

A working Asian mother and daughter.

Historically, having fair skin was a sign of wealth and status. To put it in plainly, those who worked outdoors in the fields were exposed to the sun, and therefore had darker skin. Meanwhile, those who were wealthier and could afford to stay indoors or wear protective clothing had lighter skin. This idea of light skin being desirable was further perpetuated during the colonial era, where European powers held a significant influence over Southeast Asia.

“Remember, you are beautiful just the way you are.”.

Claudia – Farangbowl.
Asian K-Pop performers.

In recent years, the rise of K-Pop and K-Drama has also played a significant role in promoting the idea of white skin as the epitome of beauty. Korean celebrities with their dewy, porcelain skin are often admired and emulated by many young Thais. Additionally, Thai media has been known to use filters and lighting techniques that enhance the appearance of lighter skin tones.

As a result of this cultural trend, the Thai beauty industry has seen a surge in demand for skin-whitening products. From lotions and creams to serums and masks, there are a plethora of options available on the market. Some popular brands include Snail White, Cathy Doll, and Hada Labo. These products claim to brighten and even out skin tone, reduce dark spots, and promote a lighter complexion!

However, it is important to note that many of these products contain ingredients that can be harmful to the skin. Hydroquinone, a common ingredient found in skin whitening products, has been banned in many countries due to its potential carcinogenic effects. Mercury, another toxic ingredient, can cause skin damage and other health problems when absorbed into the body.

Furthermore, the use of skin-whitening products perpetuates harmful beauty standards that are deeply ingrained in our society. It sends a message that those with darker skin are somehow inferior or less desirable. This is not only harmful to one’s self-esteem, but it can also lead to discrimination and prejudice.

As someone who has grown up in the United States, I have had a different experience when it comes to beauty. While the pressure to conform to certain standards certainly exists in Western societies as well, the emphasis on having white skin is not as pronounced. In fact, many Americans strive to have a tan, which is seen as a sign of health and vitality.

It is important to remember that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and shades. Our skin color does not define us, and it is up to each individual to decide what makes them feel beautiful and confident. While it may be difficult to ignore societal pressures, we should strive to embrace our natural skin tone and appreciate the unique beauty that comes with it.

You are beautiful the way you are.

The cultural trend of preferring white skin in Thailand has been around for decades and continues to be a big part of the beauty industry. While the desire for fair skin may be deeply ingrained in our society, it is important to recognize the harm that it can cause and to embrace diversity in all its forms. As consumers, we should be mindful of the potential dangers associated with skin whitening products and choose to celebrate our natural skin tone instead of trying to alter it. Remember, you are beautiful just the way you are.

Claudia Lamai xxx

Attribution (Photos)

Cover image: Image by valuavitaly on Freepik.

Working daughter and mother: Image by Tri Le from Pixabay.

Final photo of smiling lady and pen: Image by benzoix on Freepik.