What’s the Deal With Sunlight Phobia

0714_WTDWAlthough the sun has been generous to the land of China, giving abundant sunlight during the year, it’s obvious that Chinese, especially women, don’t really appreciate this kindness. They don’t like being exposed to the sun like many Westerners do, which is noticable in the amount of umbrellas are on the streets during sunny days. They’re going to employ anything and everything to hide from the sun. Why and how did it happen?

The reasons behind this phenomenon tend to be cultural. The biggest is keeping skin light in tone. The old expression,“one whiteness covers three uglies,” reveals how important white skin is here. It’s not a modern trend. The standard was adopted at least as long as records have been kept. Numerous works of literature describe the beauty of white skin, and historic documents indicate people whitened skin with poisonous lead.

For thousands of years, two social classes existed in China. Physical labor tanned skin, while the upper class such as officials, businessmen and landlords remained lighter. Therefore, in China’s sub-conscious, dark skin represents poverty, hardship, illness and disgrace, while white skin shows wealth, comfort, nobility and fitness. Although now more people are working indoors, the value hasn’t changed with the economic boom.

In order to stay away from sunshine, creative personal sunshade products are thriving on the Chinese market, not limited to hats and umbrellas. The colorful, translucent sun-protective coats might be fashionable and trendy, but their function claims raise skepticism. For cycling ladies, bimodal umbrellas are often installed on bicycles, mainly serving to provide shade. Although these are not as convenient as the tinted-visors, shields, masks or covers that shroud their faces with UV-blocking materials.

Chinese may have hyperbolized the issue, but sunlight is no laughing matter, especially with ozone depletion allowing in more UV radiation. It is recommended to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before outdoor activity so it can soak in fully. And don’t trade it in for tanning oil, which increases the risk of malignant melanoma, the most common form of cancer for young adults between the ages of 25 to 29. It’s the second most common for people aged 15 to 29, according to skincancer.org.