China’s SPF – The Real Sunblock

When it’s sunny outside – I have a tough time staying indoors. I love feeling the sun on my skin and getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

In Shanghai, sunny days (I mean the real ones – the days where the haze of pollution isn’t masking the sun) are limited. When they do happen – I try to take advantage of them.

But for the locals, they have their own method of sunblock. They shield it with their umbrellas.

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Of course, it’s a little cooler; however, the real reason why Chinese people do this is because they don’t want a tan. Yes, Snooki – you wouldn’t like it here. A lighter skin tone is a sign of wealth. It’s about status. The Chinese mindset: if you’re tan, you’re usually a migrant worker who is outside all day – the fairer the better.

Skin tone is such a big deal in China. Beauty products like Lancome’s Blanc Expert have a “whitening” effect. Call it what you will – a way to get rid of dark circles or spots, or a way to change your pigmentation. Michael Jackson wouldn’t be afraid (yes, I said what you are thinking).

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And even though the skin whitening creams are found at several stores here – umbrellas are everywhere.

The minute it rains – someone is selling them. The minute the sun peaks out – it looks like huge cocktails are walking around.

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I’d say the person who manufactures umbrellas (umbrella – yu san – in Mandarin) will never go out of business in China. After all, this is China’s SPF.

questions/comments/story Ideas: kfvitale@yahoo.com

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