Why Asians want whiter skin


You hear Asians love white skin and have lotions and medication to make your skin brighter and whiter.  The whiter it is, the more beautiful and healthy looking you are.  When I was a kid my mother would give me a small jar with white powder in it.

I asked, “What is it?”

She’d reply, “It’s crushed pearls, you’re supposed to drink it with water and it’s supposed to make your skin whiter.”

Crushed pearls?  Damn.. this thing must be expensive.. in fact how DO you crush pearls so fine? What a waste to drink it and then to digest it later! I thought.

You know what? It is expensive but I only had like 2 bottles in my life.  I was told I’m supposed to drink it at least once a week but my parents couldn’t afford it.  To me it’s a fad and tastes like medicine.. yuck.  I’m not joking, seriously, it’s crushed pearls! Google it!

I never understood why having such white skin is considered beautiful.  I was born and raised in Australia and having tanned skin is considered healthy and beautiful so I felt blessed to be easily tanned (and not burn like a red lobster!).  Did I feel beautiful? Not really, but I did feel special compared to my western friends!

Now that I’m in Asia (Malaysia then Thailand), I noticed most people are dark.  I figured avoiding the sun can be quite an obstacle because you really need to get out there on a scooter (cheapest way to travel) and do your shopping or going to the beach for a swim to cool off which is what I’ve been doing.  Slowly, I found myself becoming darker and darker just like everybody else..

To my horror, I didn’t like it.. being tan is no longer beautiful!

I never thought I’d ever reach this stage of my life to ever have that thought that being tanned was an awful thing!  I then started thinking about my skin ageing quicker and when I go back home to see my twin sister who is only one minute older than me.. I’d be like 10 years older than her!  I was scared..

A nasty photo of me at Nissi Beach in Cyprus trying to even out my tan.

A nasty photo of me at Nissi Beach in Cyprus with my uneven tan! yuck!

Why was I scared of becoming tanned?

I was scared because I know I can become darker than golden brown tan.  The colour of my skin had nothing to do about looking pure or not, it was that.. I didn’t feel special anymore.  I was just like everyone else – a really tanned Asian and I wonder.. is this why being white is beautiful?

Westerners vs Asians and could it symbolise someone’s social status?

So I now wonder is this why Westerners want to be tanned?  So they can look different from everyone else and vice verser in the East??  Westerners likes to go into the sun and “sun bake” on the “sun bed” etc.  Asians likes to walk around with an umbrella in an effort to avoid the sun.  You know what? the sun is pretty harsh in Asia!  And this is daily! I never walk with an umbrella around during sunny days in Australia!  But in Asia, whenever I can I will use my umbrella!  Weird..

When my fiance got really tanned from the mediterranean sun last year, he put on a suit ready for work and I said to him.. “Wow, you look like a billionaire!”

Every other days he would look normal, but with a tan, instantly if I didn’t know him, I would’ve assumed he was rich.  Now why is that?

For Asians, I guess a darker Asian can be perceived as a labourer and a lighter Asian as wealthy who can stay indoors all the time doing work than outdoors.  If they have money, I guess it goes into going to nice restaurants to eat good food and having a nice big house and a car!

As for Westerners, having a nice tan means they have enough money to go on holidays and enjoy the beach and soak up some sun!  Earn money and travel!

Who knows!  I could be on the right track but it’s not important.. all I know now is that.. I want my light skin back!

My whiter days

My whiter days

Why do you think Asians like whiter skin and do you prefer darker or lighter skin and why?  Please leave a comment below!  

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3 responses to “Why Asians want whiter skin

  1. Hey Linna – i hope your tan fades soon. Just keep doing what you’re doing and apply sunscreen everyday. Also, Vitamins A, C & E are the best for anti aging on the skin (ACE!!). I think Asians traditionally prefer to have fairer skin as it indicates which class you belong to. It must still be the way, if you’re worried about it. I prefer mid-range by the way, not too pale & not too dark, I think that suits me best. Good luck with it x

  2. I’m asian from Malaysia and I think tan skin is healthy and beautiful! I myself have very fair skin and trying to tan, fair/pale skin just looks sick to me. I honestly don’t know why people dislike dark/tan skin here so much, It bothers me.

    • “I honestly don’t know why people dislike dark/tan skin here so much…” You mean in Malaysia?

      In which part of Malaysia does one try to tan? I thought it’s always nice and sunny there 🙂 Good luck though! I’m sure you’ll get that nice golden look 😉

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