A Penis-Whitening Trend Is Raising Red Flags With Surgeons

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A Penis-Whitening Trend Is Raising Red Flags With Surgeons

Surgeons are sounding the alarm on the trend — which is gaining popularity in Thailand — because of its uncertain benefits and “many risks,” including burns, scars, taut skin, and a penis that might turn out to be darker (or even spotted) than the one they started out with, AFP reports.

“I think it should not be done in a patient that doesn’t need it,” Italian plastic surgeon Massimiliano Brambilla, who specializes in genital procedures, told AFP.

“Most of the substances that are used to whiten … are quite aggressive.”

The clinic now averages about 100 patients per month for penis whitening, which costs $650 US for five laser sessions, AFP reports.

“We are simply responding to our clients’ needs. Many of them have asked for treatments of specific areas,” Popol Tansakul, the clinic’s marketing manager, told DPA International.

“We use the same pigmentation laser equipment employed in other skin treatments. All of the equipment received certification [by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health],” Popol said.

But Thailand’s public health ministry recently responded to all the attention the procedure had raised, warning people in a statement that the procedure is “not necessary,” BBC said.

“Penis laser whitening is not necessary, wastes money and may give more negative effects than positive ones,” Dr. Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn said in the statement, according to BBC.

“It is a thin skin … and we do not yet fully understand how it will react,” Boucher said.

Thailand is a huge market for products and procedures that whiten the skin, The New York Post writes. Last year, a Bangkok beauty company faced major backlash for advertising a skin-lightening cream by claiming that having white skin can help you “win.”