| Penis whitening fad driving social media nuts

A Bangkok clinic that has drawn 100 men a month to its penis whitening service has caused a stir in Thailand, with social media users both baffled and alarmed by the phallic fad.

The Lelux Hospital, renowned for its body whitening expertise in a country obsessed with skin colour, began offering the unconventional treatment six months ago after a male customer complained of “dark parts” on his groin.

‘Wide play’ on TV

“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 told AFP.

The procedure, which uses laser whitening, got wide play on Thai television and social media on Thursday after the hospital released images of a man undergoing the treatment.

“We have to be careful because it’s a sensitive part of the body,” Bunthita said, adding most clients were aged between 22 and 55-years-old with many from Thailand’s LGBTQ community.

The same hospital stirred controversy last year for touting beautification treatment called a “3D Vagina”, in which the customer’s own body fat is used to make genitalia more plump.

The whitening service costs around $650 (R8 000) for five sessions.

Accusations of racism

“I think it’s a good market to enter so we offer the ultimate body treatment to our clients, both men and women,” Bunthita said.

Whitening and bleaching are not uncommon in other parts of the world and are widely offered online.

But they are particularly sought after in Thailand, where skin-whitening ads have caused outrage and accusations of racism.

“The obsession… people nowadays can’t embrace their own skin colour,” said one Facebook user.

Another user Parin Ruansati posted: “Oh god… what ever happened to the world?”

Another had a lighter response, writing “why not?”

The procedure

According to NHS Choices, laser treatment can be used to lighten blemishes or dark patches of skin:

  • Several sessions may be needed.
  • Firstly, a test will be carried out on a small area of skin to see how it reacts.
  • A local anaesthetic cream may be used to numb your skin beforehand.
  • A session will usually last up to an hour. 
  • Your skin would normally be red and swollen for a few days, and may be bruised or crusty for a week or two.
  • Over the next few weeks, the skin should start to fade to a lighter colour. 
  • Your skin will be sensitive to the sun for up to six months.

Image credit: iStock | Boost your memory by reading out loud

Are you starting to feel scatter-brained and forgetting errands on your to-do list? Or is your child already feeling anxious about memorising school work for tests in the New Year?

A new study has found that reading out aloud can help improve your chances of remembering information.

The best way to remember

Canadian researchers asked 95 people to remember written information in four different ways: reading the information silently; hearing someone else read it; listening to a recording of themselves reading it and reading it aloud.

Reading out loud proved to be the best way to remember the information, the study found. That “confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement,” study co-author Colin MacLeod said in a news release from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. He’s chair of the university’s psychology department.

‘Active’ words become more memorable

“When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable,” he said. MacLeod’s earlier research involved how writing and typing words enhanced memory retention.

As for the “practical applications of this research”, MacLeod said, “I think of seniors who are advised to do puzzles and crosswords to help strengthen their memory. This study suggests that the idea of action or activity also improves memory.”

That adds to existing knowledge that “regular exercise and movement are also strong building blocks for a good memory,” he added.

The findings were published recently in the journal Memory.

More tips on improving memory

You can also strengthen your memory by doing the following:

  • Reduce large amounts of information by categorising it into smaller chunks. Try to mind-map the information.
  • Keep your workspace tidy and organised. This will help you keep on top of important stuff.
  • Do crossword puzzles or soduku in your spare time.

Image credit: iStock