Duterte says dermatologist checked his dark complexion

Pia Ranada
Duterte says dermatologist checked his dark complexion
President Rodrigo Duterte claims his dark skin is due to regular military camp visits

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said a dermatologist visited him recently and had suggestions on how to fix his dark complexion.

“A dermatologist visited me. She’s a lady, but she’s very good,” said Duterte on Thursday, October 18, at the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Manila.

Duterte had apparently asked her to recommend treatments for his dark skin, which he claimed was from regular visits to military camps and his recent visit to Jordan where he attended an outdoor demonstration of military equipment.

“I visited every camp, pumunta pa ako ng (I even went to) Jordan. Hindi naman ako mahilig maglagay ng – nagmememelt eh (I don’t use – because it melts), and I hate it,” he said, likely referring to sunscreen.

Duterte said he had used a complicated skin regimen also used by his longtime partner, Honeylet Avanceña.

“Kasi ‘yang ginamit ko kasi ‘yang sa asawa ko, ‘Ah, cream lang ‘yan.’ Eh ‘yung asawa ko, Shisheido, may 1, 2, 3, 4. Ngayon lang ako nakakita ng medisina na parang rocket, parang booster,” he said.

(Because what I use is what my partner uses, “Ah, you just need cream.” My wife used Shisheido, there are 1, 2, 3, 4 steps. It was my first time to see medicine that looks like a rocket, with a booster.)

The President said he had the household help take a photo of the cream and send it to him so he could show the dermatologist.

The dermatologist, who Duterte did not name, recommended another skin routine to treat the President’s dark complexion.

“Sabi niya, ‘Ito na lang gamitin mo, pati ito lang. ‘Yung iba huwag mo na gamitin, mas lalo ka iitim,'” he said.

(She said, “Use only this, and this. Don’t use the others because you will just get darker.”)

The President then poked fun at critics’ claims that his dark complexion is a symptom of a serious illness, such as a kidney disease.

“They said it must be the kidney, he is sick because of the dark skin…. You ask me – 3rd stage, cancer of the brain. So what else? Part of my kidney is already gone and my heart beats 120 miles per hour. Who wouldn’t die from that?” said the President lightheartedly. 

In early October, Duterte’s health again became a hot topic after he admitted his doctors found a “growth” during an upper endoscopy. A few days later, however, Duterte claimed the biopsy results showed the growth was not cancerous. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.