You don’t have to go far to whiten your penis, but a clinic in Bangkok, Thailand has gone viral for offering patients a cosmetic procedure to change the skin pigmentation on their private areas.
The Lelux Hospital is already popular among people who want skin whitening in other parts of the body, but the new service, which works through laser treatment, is already getting three to four clients per day.
The procedure caused some controversy on Thai television and social media after the hospital released images of a man lying on a table undergoing the penis whitening procedure on Thursday, according to Agence France-Presse.
“These days a lot of people are asking about it. We get around 100 clients a month, three to four clients a day,” Bunthita Wattanasiri, a manager for the skin and laser department at Lelax Hospital, said.
“We have to be careful because it’s a sensitive part of the body,” he added.
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The hospital began offering the treatment six months ago after a male client came in complaining about “dark parts” on his groin.
Now, more than 100 men visit them every month, with most clients aged between 22 and 55 years old, according to Wattanasiri.
A majority of the hospital’s customers are also members of the LGBTQ community in Thailand, AFP reported.
The procedure costs around $650 for five sessions.
A Facebook post by a Lelux Hospital employee promoting penis whitening has racked up nearly 20,000 shares and 11,000 comments, mostly astonished by the phallic fad.
“No pain, no need to recover,” read the post by Atittayapa Photiya, an employee who last year sparked debate among netizens about the hospital’s “3DVagina” procedure, in which women inject their own fat into their genitals to make it look plump, Newsweek reported.
Photiya also posted about laser whitening for the vagina, but it wasn’t as widely shared.
The trend to make one’s skin look whiter has been accused of promoting racism. A January 2016 commercial reportedly featured a slogan that said, “Whiteness makes you win.”
Experts in Thailand were also perturbed by the rise in genital whitening.
“The skin of the private parts is sensitive,” deputy director-general Dr. Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn of the Health Service Support Department said. “Such laser services may cause irritation, allergies and inflammation.”