A parent and a child wearing facekinis

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

'Facekinis' take China by storm

A parent and a child wear body suits and protective head masks — dubbed "facekinis" — on Aug. 16 while swimming at a crowded public beach in Qingdao in China's Shandong province.


Although a nice tan is desirable in many cultures, it's not in China, where people regularly carry umbrellas — not to shield from the rain, but from the sunlight. In an agricultural society like China, tanned skin traditionally implies that one works outside all day in the fields, while lighter skin implies wealth and a higher social status.


Initially designed to protect the wearer from sunburn, the unusual swimming mask is also effective at repelling jellyfish and insects.


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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.