Interview With By Dr Thienna Ho, Author of "Unlocking the Mystery of Skin Color"
Dr. Thienna Ho was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in April of 1968, just three months after Viet Cong Forces attacked that city during the infamous Tet Offensive. Eleven years later, her family fled communist Vietnam in a 50-foot wooden boat carrying 285 passengers. During their harrowing ocean voyage to Indonesia, this vessel was attacked five times by pirates. Less than a year later, Dr. Thienna's family immigrated to the United States and settled in San Francisco. She went on to earn a number of academic degrees, including a BA in Economics, a BS in Microbiology, a Graduate Certificate in Genetic Engineering, an MA in Business Administration, and a Ph.D. in Scientific Nutrition. She also has performed significant additional study in the fields of chemistry, biology, and molecular biology.
Dr. Thienna is the founder of THIENNA, INC. She is the World Leading Authority on Human Skin Color. After seven years of independent scientific research, Dr. Thienna solved one of the most enduring mysteries on earth that had intrigued scientists for centuries-the causes for the variation in human skin color! She is here to talk about that work and her new book "Unlocking the Mystery of Skin Color."
Tyler: Welcome, Thienna. I have to admit I'm very curious to talk to you because you claim in your book that people have the ability to change or control the color of their skin. To begin, will you tell us how you first discovered this possibility?
Thienna: Thank you for having me here today. It is a treat. Tyler, this question is a very emotional one for me to answer as my mother just passed away last year and I want you and everyone to know how much I love her regardless of what I am about to say. I must admit I am very embarrassed to say this, but I was envious of my mother and siblings for having been born with beautiful light complexions, and I was the only child born with dark skin in the family. Since I was about four years old, I already knew that neighbors and friends always praised them for their beautiful fair skin but not mine. I learned at an early age from my family that my dark skin looked "dirty and unclean" -because my skin tone was so uneven that I count at least seven distinct shades and the skin on my elbows, knees, feet, and ankles was embarrassingly alligator-like, rough, thick and dark ashen gray in color. I actually hated my skin. Every time, I looked at my mother, I longed to have her beautiful fair skin.
During my adult years here in the US, I tried every skin product under the sun to lighten and even out my total body complexion, but these products only darkened my skin color even more! When I was studying microbiology at San Francisco State University as an undergraduate student and genetic engineering as a graduate student, I was disappointed to discover that scientific research had not reached the stage that would help me to alter my skin color. I was so frustrated that I made it my mission to learn everything I could about the science of the human skin so that I could solve my own skin problems and eventually help others who had the same problems that I did and this was how I solved the mystery of human skin color.
Many people are skeptical that I was born dark. I must say I had to have a problem to solve a problem and to passionately see the world the way I see. People said, "Vietnamese people are not dark" and if I was dark it was because I must be hanging out in the sun! And when I moved here, the weather is colder so I would normally get lighter or get back to my natural color. Well, this did not apply to my case. See the photos in my book and on my website http://thienna.com/thiennaphotos.html of when I was 12 years old and a photo taken with my brother when I was 18 years old. There was not much of a difference in my skin color after six years of living in the US and I did not expose myself to the sun. Even when I was 30 years old, my skin color was the same from avoiding the sun.
In my book, I will prove to you that genetic heritage, solar radiation, and how close you live to the equator, do not have as important an influence on the development of skin color as we previously believed. You will learn that not all people native to the equator are jet black and not all people native to the Polar Regions are exactly white. Thus, living under a sun-deprived environment will not guarantee the development of light skin. You can cover your body up all you want and avoid the sun; you will still be dark without you know my method!
Tyler: And what is the secret, Thienna? How does a person change his or her skin color?
Thienna: One of the most important factors in the determination of skin color and one that is commonly overlooked is the amount of sulfur in your skin. When skin of any color has less sulfur available for its use, it develops a darker shade. When skin of any color has plentiful supplies of sulfur available for its use, it develops a lighter shade. So, by changing the amount of sulfur in the pigment-producing layer of your skin, you can change your skin color!
What I must point out here is we need sulfur to survive. Sulfur is a natural mineral that is as fundamental to life as water and salt are. It is the eighth most abundant chemical element in all life forms and the third most abundant mineral in your body. You can not live without it. Sulfur is found in every cell in your body. Your body needs sulfur to create skin, hair, nails, muscles, bones, and teeth. Without sulfur, your body can not regulate its blood sugar or transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. Your body also requires sulfur to digest, absorb fat, and to excrete cholesterol. Therefore, factors in your lifestyle and diet do affect the amount of sulfur that your body uses.
In my book, I teach people how to enrich their diet with sulfur-rich foods and how to adopt behavior patterns that will maintain high sulfur levels in the body in order to lighten one's skin color or to maintain a flawless complexion.
Tyler: Thienna, I admit I've never heard sulfur discussed when we talk about minerals and vitamins and our body's makeup. Why have not we heard more about sulfur in the past? What is an example of a sulfur-rich food?
Thienna: Sulfur is not intensively studied in human nutrition. It is strictly required by your body to neutralize and eliminate toxins to keep you HEALTHY! Your survival depends, I believe, strictly on how well you combat poisons / toxins before they damage your tissues which could potentially lead to chronic illnesses or cancers and what not. It is one of the most overlooked essential nutrients for our body. Why do we have not heard of it? Haha … That is a great question. Example of a sulfur-rich food is cabbage.
Tyler: You said a person's distance from the equator does not make a difference in their skin color. Are the diets of certain people, such as Europeans, more full of sulfur than those of people in Africa? Is geography in any way responsible for skin color?
Thienna: Diet and lifestyle of the Europeans play a good part in the development of their skin color but more importantly the secret is in the book. There is a loophole that helps them save more sulfur for the body.
Geography is not at all responsible for the outcome of skin color. Take for instance, 2 population groups: one lives at 4,500 feet above sea level and the other at 8,000 feet above sea level where every 1,000 feet, there is a 6% increase in the intensity of UV radiation. You would assume that the group that lives at 8,500 feet would have darker skin but this is not the case. As a matter of fact, the group who lives at 8,500 feet has white skin and the group who lives at 4,500 feet above sea level has brown skin. I am referring to the cases in my book-the Hotan and the Hunzakuts. These are not isolated incidences. There is no lack of variation in human skin color no matter where you look. To sum up, as long as the sulfur intake outweighs the toxin intake, light skin development is favored regardless and visa versa.
Tyler: Thienna, how radical of a color change is possible? Can a South African be made to look like someone from Finland or vice-versa?
Thienna: From my own research and feedback from people who have been practicing my natural Fairskin Method for the past 2 years, people got many shades lighter, like myself. For example, they can go from a brown to a light brown, a dark olive to a light olive and light olive to the light range in a period of 12 to 18 months. As for me, I have been practicing my method for 7 years; I was able to go from a dark olive to the light range. As of today, I can not say that my natural method can make a South African to look like someone from Finland or vice-versa because people are still testing the method and only time will tell.
Tyler: What sort of evidence is there that this change is possible?
Thienna: There are many intriguing scientific evidences in my book, which show you that skin color is not fixed and the skin lightening process could have been a very recent phenomenon (recent would mean a few thousand years). Take for instance, recent genetic research showing that the ancestors of modern Germanic people did not have light skin. Visual evidence left by artists 10,000 years ago from caves in France show men with dark brown skin hunted light brown deers. Other fascinating evidence can be seen in recent research of short lived creatures! Believe it or not, research showed that even a single nutrient can affect the color development of the furs or coats of animals! You have to wait and read my Nature's Proof from my book. It will knock your sock off!
I am also a proof right here and people who have used my method can testify to this too. And whether you have used my method or not, you may have unknowingly directed the development of your own skin color to a certain degree! Some people do get lighter with age and some people get darker with age.
Tyler: You claim to have lightened your own skin. Will you tell us a little bit about this change and how much of a change you actually made?
Thienna: Well, people often thought that I was Cambodian but now they think that I am Japanese. It is definitely a visible change! I do apologize if I offended anyone with labels. I must say skin color is one of the hardest and most touchy subjects to talk about and I am always in the line of fire. I hope people will understand where I came from, why I did it, and not be judging me before they read my book. I am glad I was born into this perfect situation which has propelled me to solve one of the most puzzling scientific mysteries on earth.
Tyler: What are the most common reasons why people use this change of skin color?
Thienna: For esthetic reasons and I will leave it at that. It is the same like someone likes to have a tan.
Tyler: Thienna, without meaning to offend anyone, may I ask if people have reacted to your work as having some sort of racist agenda?
Thienna: Absolutely! They think my work is evil. As evil as the theory of evolution! As you know, science has no moral judgment. If we stray from logic, we can not solve anything.
Tyler: That's a perfect response, Thienna. Of course, we have heard of white men who dress as black men to see if they are treated differently. In your own experiences, have people treated you differently than they used to because of your lighter skin? May I ask why you think your family even made your skin color an issue?
Thienna: Tyler, this is a very interesting question indeed. To be honest, in my own experiences, I never had any problems whatsoever with how people treated me when I had a dark complexion. People genuinely love me and I can feel their love and kindness. However, it is strange enough to say, but many women just do not like me when I am lighter. I am sure it is nothing new whether I am dark or light, there is a war among women since eons which I will not go into. As for men of color, I will not comment on this as I can only listen, learn, and provide solutions that would help us all.
Again, I love my mom greater than the ocean, the sky, and the stars altogether and I would go to the ends of the earth for her in life and in death. When she left me, she took my heart and my soul. My mom is my everything but she is not without flaws. As to my dark skin color, I really believe it was not intentional and not directed towards me at all. But if you are growing up hearing how dark skin is dirty, now, you know you are dirty as well. That is as much as I want to share for now. Maybe one day I will tell my story. I must say I am proud of myself. With struggles come rewards. I would not change anything and I do not have anyrets. Although I do hold grudges through eternity. Anyways, this is the spice of life. I live, learn and see life with all its beauty and its ugliness. This is what makes life the more interesting and beautiful.
Tyler: What methods can be used for people who are aging, concerned with such signs of old age as liver spots?
Thienna: They can practice my natural Fairskin Method and their liver spots will naturally lighten. My Natural Fairskin Method utilizes diet and lifestyle alone without the use of toxic chemicals, drugs, or steroids to undo any skin problems. Some may say … well, I do not want to get lighter than I already am. I want to emphasize that you need sulfur to keep your skin clear and vibrant. To have a therapeutic skin lightening effect, you need a lot and I mean a lot more sulfur in your diet. In a nutshell, if you have a great surplus of sulfur in the body after the body uses the sulfur for all the necessary biological processes, the sulfur can then be allocated to your skin. Skin lightening is a side effect of a high sulfur intake. This is why you can control your own skin color development depending on how much sulfur you give your body and how much you save for use by your skin. If you do not want your skin to lighten, do not eat too much sulfur! But eat enough to keep your skin nice and clear into your old age!
Tyler: What about people who have suffered from serious skin damaged from sun exposure over the years. Is there hope for them?
Thienna: Damaged skin, either from toxic chemicals, poisons generated from the body or sun-damaged skin, is very difficult to correct. However, people can use my method to undo the damage to their skin to a large degree and restore its youthful vibrancy. Using toxic chemicals to correct the damaged skin may make the situation worse in many cases. Chemical peels and other methods such as microdermabrasion may help correct the damaged skin to some degree but people still need to change from the inside out so the underlying problems will not surface again.
Remember, what you put in your body, on your body, or what affects your body from your environment will affect the mechanism that controls your skin health and its color. It does not matter where the source comes from; in the end, toxin is toxin and the body will use sulfur to clear toxins from the body, leaving less sulfur for the skin which in turn affects your skin health.
Tyler: Having a tan and using tanning salons has been a big fad in the United States in recent years, yet we are constantly warned about skin cancer. Is there another way to tan the skin naturally?
Thienna: Yes. There is a chapter in my book about how to use diet to tan your skin naturally. There is no need to expose your skin to the dangerous UV rays! Indigenous people of the world are always darker than their modern counterparts in the developed world. You will have to read the book to see what they do to achieve their dark complexions and maintain their dark complexion for thousands of years even if they live in sun deprived environment!
Tyler: In referring to indigenous people, did you find in your research that any previous cultures had the knowledge you have found-that some ancient culture had worked out the secret of skin color?
Thienna: Definitely ancient cultures do have the wisdom and the knowledge as to how to keep their skin color light but they do not know why scientifically. For instance, to make the skin lighter, ancient Egyptian women bathed themselves in milk. The Tibetans would avoid eating butter, the South Indians would avoid drinking black tea, for the Chinese, do not eat too much soy sauce if you do not want skin of the same color, etc …
In this book, I show you the science behind "the how." Any questions that you were curious before are all in this book. Even if the answers are not written in this book, the book will speak for itself effortlessly.
I have to point out that sulfur has been used since the ancient times to treat skin ailments. What I found that was really interesting to me was how sulfur is depicted in Ancient Christianity. Christianity conceptualized sulfur as the fuel that produces the fire of hell and in the New Testament, Hell is called the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Sulfur was known in the ancient time as a substance that cleanses pollution and purifies the sin.
Tyler: Thienna, you also comment that the poorest countries tend to have the dark skinned people. Why is this?
Thienna: Your body's toxin-clearing mechanisms greatly depend on sulfur … Meaning whatever you put in your body, on the molecular level, it will affect your sulfur status. Changes in your skin color are the result of changes in your environment, diet, behavior, lifestyle, culture, tradition, cooking methods and emotional and psychological factors such as stress.
I discovered that, everything else being equal, a population group exposed to relatively low levels of toxins over a long period of time will have a lighter skin color than a comparable group exposed to high levels of toxins over the same period. Toxins rob the body of sulfur, which leaves less sulfur for the skin.
This is why skin color is not uniform within a population group either. This is difficult for me to say but the rich, high status people often have a lighter complexion than the less wealthy people even if they share the same genetic makeup. City people are also lighter than their ethnic counterparts. This is not just my observation but skin scientists also observed this phenomenon. (I must warn people about our discussion.
Tyler: You promise, Thienna, to give us the answers to some intriguing questions, including why do some African-American celebrities seem to get lighter over time. I have to ask, what do you think has happened to Michael Jackson's skin color?
Thienna: Some African-American celebrities do get lighter over time because money and status take a load of stress off their body, mind, and soul. They eat and live well and also do what they passionately love. Fewer toxins bombarded their bodies. Thus, these factors naturally enhance the development of lighter skin color. When we do not have money, it does not come with just the emotional and psychological stress of everyday life but we eat cheap and malnourished foods laden with toxins. (If you listen to the latest news … foods and merchandise from cheap retail outlets are packed with poisons! -I'm not going to name names-and who are the buyers?) Our skin naturally gets darker with time and if we keep on this pattern from one generation to the next, the skin of population groups just get darker and darker overtime until it reaches equilibrium. Let me explain something very important here. Most of us are taught as a fact that the sun is one of the major contributing factors that affects how your ancestors and you develop your skin color and that is … the closer you live to the equator the darker your complexion and the closer you live to the North Pole the lighter your complexion. This is not so! Skin color is not uniform worldwide wherever you look. You can remove the sun altar and you still evolve to have a dark complexion. Other factors mentioned above (diet, lifestyle, behavior, culture, and tradition) can have as much or greater an influence on the development of skin color than the sunrays and not to mention genetics!
As for Michael, I do not know him but I will say this … Michael would have naturally gotten lighter by many, many shades over time with his money and power. That is all I can comment on about Michael.
Tyler: I have to admit when I first heard about your book, I felt skeptical about the matter. Will you tell us a little bit about the kind of research you put into the book so we are more convinced?
Thienna: The findings presented in "Unlocking The Mystery of Skin Color" are the results of my extensive research in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, genetics and nutrition as well as my own personal observations and experiences. I applied the strict standard of scientific method to solve my skin problems and my research is backed by over 500 reputable scientific sources. The advantage of applying the scientific method is that it is unprejudiced. My results are reproducible by anyone who wants to determine whether my results are true or false in human or even animal models. Since 2005, many people worldwide have applied my method and they got the same results as I did. I am very confident to say that I did it. I solved the mystery of skin color!
Tyler: Thienna, who has been your biggest influence?
Thienna: I have to say that my dad has the biggest impact on me. Because I was born with a dark complexion, my dad always pushed me harder than my other siblings to sharpen my mind. He provided all the vehicles for me to excel since I I learned to walk-from music, sport, dance, and down to my education. He made me believe in myself-an immeasurable value that helps me excel both in work and in life.
Tyler: Thank you, Thienna, for joining me today and sharing these amazing techniques to change skin color. Before we go, will you tell us what additional information about "Unlocking the Mystery of Skin Color" readers might find at your website?
Thienna: At my website (www.thienna.com), people can find additional information about my company, what I do and of course questions and answers about the book from readers. I also provide nutritional supplements to assist individuals to obtain a healthy, clearer, and brighter complexion … that is if people can not follow my Natural Fairskin Diet strictly, they can supplement their diet with my diet sulfur.
Tyler: Thank you, Thienna, for the fascinating information. I wish you lots of luck in your continued research.