How do you feel about the colour of your skin?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I am super fair skinned and while pictures of me as a kid prove slightly different, I can't seem to get much a tan now if my life depended on it.  That said, I'm very sun-safe and have made it my personal mission to be that way for the last six years.  I wear sunscreen on my face and neck every single day, haven't stepped foot in a tanning bed and always wear sunscreen on the beach.

As I get older and start to see fine lines appearing, the last thing I want to do is expedite the process with further sun damage.  I know I've damaged my skin already as I spent an eight month stint working at a tanning salon when I was 20 and was so dark wouldn't even recognize me.  I continued to tan for a few years after that to maintain the colour--I cringe when I think about it now.

To be honest, I long for dark, tanned skin and have always dated men with dark skin and find women the most beautiful who possess dark skin and hair (funny, right?).  I wish I could get a tan easily, but, it is not the case so I proactively protect myself instead.  Sometimes we just have to accept our 'flaws' and hope fair skin becomes trendy sometime soon (please?).

For the past almost-three years I've been regularily spray tanning which gives me the colour I crave--and can't obtain--with less risk (I hope?).  I definitely feel better with a tan, slimmer and feel my clothes look their best.  It might seem superficial, but ultimately, it's a confidence boost and that along with working out makes me feel pretty darn good.  Why wouldn't you want to feel pretty darn good, right?  Right.

So sound off, do you like the colour of your skin?  Would you change it if you could?



(See my spray tan in full action in Mexico--I get a spray tan before vacation, sit in the shade, and come home more pale than I went there.)

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so pale it's not even funny. Sometimes even the lightest shade of foundation is too dark for me and leaves orange lines on my jaw :(

I used to swim in high school and was SUPER dark even though my mom made me basically bathe in sunscreen year-round.

Now I'm pale and I miss being tan, but usually only when I'm wearing shorts or a dress (which doesn't happen very often, thank goodness). I think it would help if I got into better shape too!

Melissa said...

I'm with you on this one. I love being darker; however, I was blessed with the ability to tan very easily (thank my Native background for that). That being said, for the most part, I like my skin colour and wouldn't change it. You should go to Asia, they put whitening agents in their products as they actually want fair skin :).

Schnelle said...

I spent years going to the tanning salon and never wearing sunscreen but last year something hit me and I started wearing sunscreen (when I'm out for an extended period of time). It's funny you say that because I have dark hair & olive skin and I remember wanting to be blonde so bad in high school. It wasn't until recently that I came to appreciate my coloring. You always want what you don't have though, I suppose?

Anonymous said...

I used to tan so well as a child which I love my colouring way back then! Now I can't seem to tan at all, I tend to burn more then tan. I've come to terms with my pale skin colouring.

Jamie said...

I with you - pale, pale, pale. I've spent my life slathered in sunscreen. But I've always wanted to be darker. For years, I would try and tan naturally. Not in tanning beds, but out in the sun. And I got no color and the occasional burn. Somewhere in my mid-20s I got comfortable with the idea that I will never tan naturally, at least not to a color I'd like, and that I was doing myself an even bigger favor by no longer trying to tan.

Honestly, those of us with pale skin who stay out of the sun and protect the heck out of it will look so much better when we're older! I do still find myself occasionally thinking wistfully of darker skin, but then it quickly passes. My sister in law and I always joke (my husband is Indian) because in India all her friends are using bleach on their skin to make it lighter (fairer is "prettier" there) while over here we're all striving for their dark skin tone. When I really want to get the tan color, I spray tan, but honestly I've even stopped that lately because I don't know how to do it without my toes/fingernails/etc looking funky. I also find that in the heat I sweat it off, even if it's been days since I sprayed. Maybe you have some tips?? :)

The Blue Hour

A.Co said...

Wow!! So much great feedback and comments already! Thanks ladies, glad to hear I'm not alone on this one :)

@Melissa: I've heard of that in Asian, for instance, the 'whitening bar soap'.

@Jamie: so funny how we want to be darker and they want to be lighter. As for the spray tan, do you use the lotion on your hands and feet that they are supposed to provide? Should I do an entire post dedicated to this?

@Schnelle: so true, 'eh? 'the grass is greener' and sweet to hear you wanted to be blonde.

@Anon #2: I don't understand it either?! How could I be so tanned when I was a kid and now burn so much easier??? :(

Shannon said...

I have lots of freckles so have to be pretty careful in the sun. When I was a lot younger I used to wish I didn't have freckles and has skin that tanned easily, but now I like my freckles and wouldn't want different skin or different hair (I'm brunette, and I think if I were blonde or a redhead with all of these freckles that I'd burn a lot easier than I do). I definitely have to be careful in the sun but if I monitor my time outside and use sunscreen with a low SPF (i.e.15) I can get some colour without getting burnt.

LC said...

I'm middle of the road on skin tone (mix Scotish, English with a dash of Native American lol). Blessed with skin that will take and hold colour easily in the summer. No spf = instant burn. With spf = a dash of colour!
Regardless, wanted to post more to add into the mix that I find it 'interesting' how our values have changed! What comes to mind is in North America while (generally) we all long for darker skin these days... history had it that dark skinned people were 'the working class' and typically poor people (because they worked outside/farmed/etc). Similarly with weight - skinny used to mean you were poor and couldn't afford to eat/feed your family well. How on earth did we completely 180 within our own culture?! Humans are weird!

Rebecca @ Thats So Pearl said...

I'm pretty happy with my skin color. I'm light skinned, but not pale at all and I would tan easily if I actually spent some time in the sun. I don't care for sun tanning though so I use SPF when I'm going to be out in it and then just use self-tanner during the summer months when I'm wearing shorts. Like you though, I do prefer my men to be on the darker side! =)...And for the record, there is only one man in my life, but when I think back most of the guys I dated were darker skinned LOL.

MelMac!! said...

Great topic A.Co! Here's a nerd fact for you about skin colour; Pasty white skin was considered more attractive until the 1920's when Coco Chanel accidentally got a sunburn while on vacation and people started to emulate her.
So basically you can blame the tanned skin trend on Coco!

LandOfTheGlam said...

I am very fair skinned and have a hard time tanning. I will burn and then get a slight bit of colour. I actually feel guilty knowing my skin is tanning so I wear sunscreen religiously and I refuse to step into a tanning salon. So, yes I use self tanners and bronzer and all that good stuff because I do feel better with some colour on my skin. Even my hair colour stands out and my nail polish looks better! As funny as that sounds and as superficial as that may be, you're right, it does make you feel better!

A.Co said...

@LC: humans ARE so weird, I think about that too and the 'old days' when people were malnourished/hungry and worked outside.

@MelMac: I never knew that! Interesting & thanks for sharing!

A.Co said...

@LOTG: Amen sister!

Jamie said...

I do use the lotion but I find if I don't use a very thick layer of it the color seeps through. And no matter what I can't get the lotion layer consistent so I always end up splotchy in a few places. If you have any suggestions I'm sure others might have the same problem!

Diana said...

I am VERY fair skinned. Honestly, I'm maybe 2 shades away from "albino". It bothers me when I think about it, or when I see a picture of myself and see just how sickly white I am, but day to day I don't think about it much.

When I was a senior in high school I went to a tanning bed before the prom I went to. For the next two years I tanned on and off, pretty infrequently. I can see the damage I've sustained from it in the form of fine lines. Now, I'm pretty sun safe and try to encourage friends and family to be as well. My husband likes to let himself bake in the sun when he can and I try to remind him that if he keeps it up he's going to look like his mother, who does the same thing - she is only 53, but looks considerably older, and her skin is like leather. It's pretty gross to see up close.

Emily S. said...

Yes! Please do a post on getting the perfect spray tan!!!

xoxo

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