Big Picture

A day at the beach, minus the tan

Ever more Chinese women are embracing the "facekini" to protect them from the sun and the threat of a tan on a trip to the beach.

Pale white skin is highly valued as delicate and feminine in China, where a darker complexion is associated more with poor rural women, who often labour for long hours in the sun.

The nylon accessory has tiny holes for the eyes, mouth and nose, offering those who couple it with a full body suit complete protection not only from ultraviolet rays, but also jellyfish and mosquitoes.

The mask was developed more than 10 years ago, with Chinese media attributing its invention to Ms Zhang Shifan, a former accountant who runs a swimwear store in Qingdao.

The "facekini" has become a common sight on the beaches of Qingdao, a coastal city in China's eastern province of Shandong.

The former German colony is most well-known abroad as the home of Tsingtao beer, perhaps China's best-known brand overseas, but it is also a resort city where holidaymakers flock during the heat of summer to cool off in the Yellow Sea.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2015, with the headline 'A day at the beach, minus the tan'. Print Edition | Subscribe