Doctors In Thailand Issue Warnings Over New 'Penis Whitening' Fad

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Thailand's health ministry is issuing a warning to hundreds of men in the country who want to undergo a penis whitening procedure.

While skin whitening has always been a fad in East Asian countries - as they associate paler skin with success - a recent video from Bangkok's Lelax Hospital has made this new trend go viral.

Since the video was shared on Facebook, it has accumulated 4 million views, with nearly 20,000 shares. It showed lasers directed at a patient's penis, breaking down the melanin in his skin.

"Patients started to ask about penis whitening, and so we started the treatment a month later," Popol Tansakul, the marketing manager of Lelux Hospital, told BBC.

"They are popular among gay men and transvestites who take good care of their private parts. They want to look good in all areas. Around 100 men visit Lelux Hospital each month for the procedure," Popol continued.

He added no one has reported issues, and clients are happy with the results.  

"I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs," one patient who had his penis whitened told BBC's Thai service.

However, as the new trend grows more prominent, the country's health officials want the public to be informed of the potential risks that come with this procedure.

Since the practice began six months ago, the ministry has issued warnings about the negative side effects of genital whitening, which include pain, inflammation, scarring, and "nasty looking spots."

"Penis laser whitening is not necessary, wastes money and may give more negative effects than positive ones," the health ministry's Dr. Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn said in a statement.

While it can cause serious repercussions, viewers across the world made sure to put their two cents on the video.

"It can be used as a torch light. Let it shine!" one user said.

Another said she was "not that serious about the color" but was "more concerned about the size and the moves."

It costs about $650 for five sessions, and while less popular, the clinic also offers vagina whitening services too.

Would you ever be tempted to undergo a penis whitening procedure?