Pinays Obsession on Skin Whitening Products: Let's Take a Look


Pinays are the highest users when it comes to skin whitening products with 50% among Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan women. This is according to Synovate, a global market research company which conducted a survey last 2004. Now it's 2010, still whitening products are one of the hottest and best sellers in the local markets today. See the white faces of idolized actors and celebrities or notice the dominance of people locally with whiter complexion,  these are the kinds  most of Pinays  go gaga to look like them. Think, if skin colours do show a rather unfair  trend.



Skin whitening products in the Philippines like Avon's Anew 360 White, Ponds Whitening Detox Creme, Olay Whitening Intensive Creme, Papaya products, glutathione and those from Belo are very in demand. It seems impossible to count how many products more Pinays are spending so much as according to Cheche V. Moral of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, skincare in the Philippines is worth P22 billion pesos or almost $48 billion. Certainly, this is a big and serious business here in the Philippines. It is also seldom to find beauty products without a whitening ingredient. Check the commercials/advertisements of most of the products mentioned above: a plain, boring girl is depicted for the one who has darker complexion and then goes smarter, prettier as she  becomes whitier and noticed more by people around.



Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo novels published in 1890's has a character named Donya Victorina, a pinay who is ashamed of her look and color that she tries to put on lots of make up just to look more Spanish. Whiter skin has become “a reflection of labour status.” says historian Gerald Horne of University of Houston in the digital news outlet GlobalPost.  When one sees a person with white skin, a quick impression is he/she is beautiful, glamorous and rich.



According to Veronica Cerrer's writing entitled Skin Whitening and Dark Beauty in the Philippines , pinays' obsession on skin whitening products can be traced back to colonial mentality. In my simplest translation, a state of feeling inferior or thinking of always being the least in anything. Spanish colonized the Philippines for almost 3 decades and Americans for over 50 years and it somehow left a negative mark about the ideal of beauty to the pinays or the women of the Philippines.  Come on, shrug that colonial mentality off! While skin whitening is a free option for pinays, why not we revive that tanned skin with "exotic look" as beautiful and glamorous not the usual pitied definition of domesticated and uneducated pinays?


Information source: Veronica Cerrer's  Skin Whitening and Dark Beauty in the Philippines published in  Suites101.com dated April 20, 2010

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