Face-kini: The terrifying new Chinese trend

QINGDAO, CHINA - AUGUST 22:  A Chinese woman wears a face-kini while swimming on August 22, 2014 in the Yellow Sea in Qingdao, China. The locally designed mask is worn by many local women to protect them from jellyfish stings, algae and the sun's ultraviolet rays.  (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

If you want to protect your face from the sun this summer, there's a new terrifying trend in China that might just do the job.

The face-kini, which is a bikini for your face, offers full-face protection from harmful UV rays. It's becoming particularly popular in Asia, where skin colour often represents socio-economic status. Whiter skin is often associated with wealth and beauty.

A face-kini-wearing family hit the beach.
A face-kini-wearing family hit the beach. Photo credit: Getty

While the unnerving water balaclava was invented in the early 2000s, more than 30,000 have been sold in the past year, so don't be alarmed if you hit the beach and see dozens of multi-coloured faces staring back at you.

Face-kinis come in a variety of colours.
Face-kinis come in a variety of colours. Photo credit: Getty

The designer of the face-kini, Zhang Shifan, told local media they were intentionally invented to protect swimmers from jellyfish stings.

Zhang Shifan holding her product.
Zhang Shifan holding her product. Photo credit: Getty

While the trend is mainly concentrated in China, they are available to buy online. Just make sure you take it off before you head to the shops.

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