While I was being put up on game about the skin whitening crave from the woman in my last blog post, she also warned me about certain over the counter skin care products. She told me to make sure that when I was buying lotion or soap to check to see that it does not have bleach or skin whitening chemicals in the product. I told her that I did not know the Thai language and if she could write down on a piece of paper for me “no bleach” in Thai for me. She wrote down what I asked on a piece of paper and I proceeded to go to the store, which was literally next door to the hotel. I went in the store and handed the person behind the counter my piece of paper. Something was off about him, he had a grotesque look on his face, looking at me as if I was a little crazy.
He couldn’t believe that I did not want skin whitener in my soap. I am a proud man of color and I am not and have never been ashamed in the color of my skin. I guess he looked at the situation through the eyes of his culture. The darker you are the less you make, and more then likely you will become a low paid field worker. I wanted to communicate with him and tell him that he doesn’t have to view things in that way even though he might live in an environment where the majority of the people do think like that, but I know he would not of been able to understand me because I speak English. I laughed it off and pointed to my skin and gave him the thumbs up. He guided me to the section of Aloe Vera soap and I picked up a few bars and went about my way. I did not purchase any lotion because I have sensitive skin and I just can’t moisturize myself with any brand of lotion. I have to have the Aveeno oatmeal lotion or else I will have itchy dry skin and possibly break out in hives.
The encounters that I had with the woman in my last blog and the man behind the counter changed the way I viewed things from that point on until the end of my trip. I noticed that the only people that did have light skin were the adults who have been bleaching for years, the women who worked at skin whitening clinics, people on television and in the public figure, and children who have a parent that is of European descent. Everyone else had dark skin, some of them had skin darker then mine. But when I would see a child that was as dark as me, I would always ask myself what type of person will this child be when they get older or do they have that mindset already. Will they start bleaching their skin? Are they being treated differently now? Will they embrace their melanoid complexion? You never know.
A few foreigners that I have met in Thailand said that they have accidentally used lotion or soap that did have bleach before and said that it burns. Hearing that let’s me know the level of discomfort people endure just to become so called “beautiful”. It’s mind boggling if you ask me, but that’s apart of their culture so it is real to them. With that being said, before you come to Thailand, make sure you stock up on soap and lotion or have a friend help you write down “non bleaching soap” in Thai on a piece of paper. Soap and lotion are not that expensive in Thailand. I do not remember the cost but it’s very cheap. I am only speaking for the people who do not want to purchase skin whitening products, but if skin whitening is your thing then I guess you will have a field day in Thailand. – Splash Wave