Penis whitening – a new crazy craze? 

Demand for penis whitening treatment seems to be increasing.  A clinic in Thailand offers the service which takes five visits for a total cost of $650.  The process uses pigmentation laser equipment and has been popular with men aged 22-55, and this particular clinic sees about 3-4 patients each day. The risks are that such laser services can cause irritation or inflammation.

Just as some darker-skinned men want their skin made lighter, many white people pay to get their skin colour darkened with tanning and other treatments.  The subject of changing skin colour has historically been a hugely controversial issue with racist overtones.  For example in Hugh Loftus book “Doctor Dolittle” there is a section where the doctor reluctantly agrees to whiten the skin of Prince Bumpo so that Sleeping Beauty will agree to marry him.

Penis whitening is potentially a similarly controversial issue if the implication is that lighter coloured penises are more attractive to other people.  The widespread access to pornography as a result of the internet may have made men more inclined to compare their private parts to those of others.  According to some this has already had a significant effect on how women manage their body hair with many more women shaving their pubic hair than in former times.  According to a survey of over 3,000 respondents by JAMA Dermatology 62% of women now prefer to have no pubic hair and 93% do their own “grooming” with most saying they do it for hygiene reasons.  Shaving is more common among white and wealthier women, though from a medical viewpoint it would probably be best to avoid both shaving and waxing.  Waxing can lead to genital burns, skin irritation and post inflammatory hyper pigmentation as well as infections of the vulvar and vagina.

Men, too, are taking more care of their genitals, or “delicates” as some of the shaving suppliers call them.  Shaving pubic hair has become more common for men too and is big business.  One reason is that it is a repeat business – once you start you need to keep on trimming unless you want stubbly bits.  Penis whitening looks like the latest trend but it’s unclear whether it will be more than a passing fad.  As a friend once said to me, “all cats are grey in the dark”.

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