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 SkinCell PRO 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 counted 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 U.S., 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.