Lelux Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand started to offer a bizarre treatment about six months ago after one of its male customers complained of dark parts on his groin.
The hospital, renowned for its body whitening procedures, launched a procedure to change the pigmentation of the penis's skin in July. Now, it has 100 clients a month, or up to 4 clients a day, for this $650 five-session treatment.
How The Penis Whitening Treatment Works
The procedure received coverage from Thai television and went viral on social media after Atittayapa Photiya, a hospital employee, shared on Facebook images of a man undergoing the treatment.
The treatment uses a laser to break down melanin in the skin. Bunthita Wattanasiri, a manager at Lelax Hospital's Skin and Laser department, said that most clients were between 22 and 55 years old, many of whom belong to Thailand's LGBTQ community.
"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]," said Lelux's marketing manager Popol Tansakul.
Tansakul said that there's no reported issue so far, but health authorities in Thailand raised concern over subjecting the private parts to this kind of treatment.
Health Authorities Warn About Subjecting Private Parts To Laser Treatment
Health Service Support Department deputy director-general Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn said that the skin of private parts is so sensitive to laser treatments such as this one may result in allergies, irritation, and inflammation. He said that stopping the treatment would just cause the skin color to return back to normal. Worse, the treatment may even result in unsightly spots.
"Penis laser whitening is not necessary, wastes money and may give more negative effects than positive ones," Keeratihuttayakorn said.
Urologist Kampanat Pornyoskrai said laser treatments on genitalia may have different results depending on each person. He said that while laser can help whiten the face and may also work for the genitalia of some people, he urged those interested in the treatment to study the bad points of the procedure first.
"Usually, the male genitalia is darker than other parts of the body because of androgen," he said. "No other medicines can change that."
Beauty And Skin Color
Beauty standards in some parts of the world push people to get tanned but in some countries such as Thailand, the trend is to make the skin look whiter using cosmetic procedures or certain products. Pharmacies and supermarkets sell products that whiten the face, body, and armpits while billboards, newspapers, and television feature ads for whitening products.