Chinese women are going to great lengths to prevent their faces from getting sunburned by donning a "face-kini," a ski mask-type garment that covers their entire mug with openings for their eyes, noses and mouths.
The UK's Daily Telegraph has a photo slideshow of various Chinese women wearing a face-kini. The beachgoers resemble Spanish professional wrestlers or bank robbers.
The face-kini comes in a variety of colors, ranging from electric blue to hot pink. Some of the balaclavas have patterns.
Face-kinis are popular on the beaches of Qingdao, in the eastern Chinese province of Shangdong, according to wantchinatimes.com. The garments range in price from 15 to 25 yuan, or $2.40 to $4.
"The weather is too hot, the first thing I do each day is to swim in the sea," Zhang Gulian, 62, told the website.
Liu Jia, 32, was wearing a pink face-kini as she was being interviewed by The New York Times as part of a feature on the beach mask.
"I just had to have one," she told the paper.
The face-kini does not just prevent sunburn among those who wear the garment. They also come in handy against insect bites and jellyfish stings, according to wantchinatimes.com.
Will the Chinese trend gain popularity around the world? It's doubtful, mainly because of different societal attitudes, according to the website.
"Unlike many white western sunbathers, many people in China dislike getting a tan, especially on the face," wantchinatimes.com reported. "They feel that dark skin, reminiscent of farmers and laborers who toil in the sun, is not as pretty as dainty white skin."
Beachgoer Yao Wenhua told The Times that a tanned face is not desirable in China.
"A woman should always have fair skin," said Yao, 58. "Otherwise people will think you're a peasant."
Su Ailing, 57, was wearing a red face-kini during a visit to a beach in Qingdao. She told the Times she wasn't self-conscious about wearing such a bold garment.
"Does it look like I care what people think?" she said. "The tourists dress skimpy, but we locals know how to protect our skin."