One of the most intriguing observations we’ve had while traveling in Asia is the plethora of skin products on the market designed to make the user whiter. While in the West we’re spending millions of dollars to make our skin darker (from tanning salons to self tanners), in the East they’re spending a corresponding amount to go lighter.

I spent the few days we had on the Thai island Koh Phagnan working to get my tan on.

I scour the pharmacies for anti-wrinkle cream by my favorite brands including Olay, but all I can find are whitening products. They even have products for men.

Where's the anti-wrinkle cream?

The TV commercials hawking these creams are an additional source of amusement with the women in them gazing approvingly in the mirror after a graphic explains this whitening lotion just made them 2 shades lighter.

Will it ever be possible to abandon our world-wide obsession with skin color? Our preferences towards melanin levels clearly have more to do with the culture we’ve been born into than any degree of worth.

Although to be fair, if I wasn’t so obsessed with getting a little color on my face, I probably wouldn’t need that all that anti-wrinkle cream either.

~ Molly