All About Skin Whitening In Asian Cultures



An important aspect of beauty in Asian cultures is having white skin. Not simply white skin, but delicate clear bright pale skin free of lines or wrinkles or aging marks. Having white skin does not mean anyone is interested in becoming white in a cultural way. It is instead an important beauty statement.

White skin is associated with someone being more delicate, wealthier and of a higher class. On the other side darker skin is associated with a lower class or with field workers who are exposed to the elements while laboring outdoors.

In western cultures it is just the opposite. Having a tan complexion indicates being able to afford the leisure time to spend relaxing in the sun (ignoring the dangers of the UV rays which may cause skin cancers).

Hundreds of years ago high born women in Asian cultures would attempt to achieve a whiter skin by using a dangerous bleaching product containing lead oxide. Other methods for lightening skin included swallowing powdered pearls with hot water, bathing with turmeric which has skin lightening properties or apply dregs of honey to the skin.

There are also myths that say eating or drinking dark colored food or beverages will darken skin. In fact, pregnant women avoided drinking chocolate milk so their baby would not be born with a darker skin color.


There are old proverbs in both China and Asia which mean a white skin hides other flaws.

A light delicate flawless skin is desirable in the Asian culture for several reasons. It is usually the women who crave the lighter skin, but some men do also.

Lighter skin is said to indicate a higher social status and to help achieve better employment, more respect and a better marriage.

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of skin lightening products available on the market over the past several decades.

Products made by companies like L’Oreal, Max Factor and Estee Lauder sell the same products for skin lightening globally with possibly a few minor changes for individual countries. These global companies do use advertising tailored for each individual location. Other companies make products and distribute them to their own local areas.

Most advertisements stress natural ingredients. The ads also suggest their products can stop signs of aging, increase attractiveness, increase confidence, create pearl like skin, lighten and brighten skin and rejuvenate you. One manufacturer claims their skin care collection can turn skin white as snow. Other manufacturers emphasize new methods which have magical effects on the skin.

Skin lightening products are currently the best selling beauty products in Asian cultures. There is little scientific evidence to show that all of these skin lightening products actually will achieve the desired results they claim you will see.