Fancy a Face-Kini?

New craze takes off in China

One of the reasons a gap year is so popular is because of the weather. Maybe it's something to do with being British, but there's nothing quite like chasing the sun and topping up the tan while on the road.

However, on your gap year you'll learn all about different cultures and societies, and there's nothing quite as different as the Face-Kini, which is currently causing a scene in China.

The Face-Kini has been spotted in the coastal tourist city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, and it's supposed to protect the wearer from the sun (there's sun protection and then there's sun protection - Ed).

They come in a number of styles and colours (though let's be honest, they look like gimp masks) and they're becoming extremely popular.

One online store sold 542 masks in just 30 days. A shop spokesperson said: "We are already out of the pink ones... all of them sell well. Orange is the most effective in protecting people from sea creatures." They're selling factory-made Face-Kinis for 15 to 25 yuan (£1 to to £2.50) each.

In Chinese culture a tan is associated with agricultural work, so often Chinese citizens will avoid the sun. It's not uncommon to see people fully-clothed with an umbrella in blazing sunshine.

So, what do you reckon? Think it'll take off on a gap year? Get onto the message boards and get discussing! 

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Photos by AFP / Getty Images