Pale and Proud: Why I won’t be getting a sun tan, no matter how much you tell me I “need” one


“You don’t have much of a tan!”
“Bit pale, aren’t you?”

I’ve lost count of the number of times this kind of thing has been said to me over the years. Every time I go on holiday, I return to a barrage of tongue-clicking comments about the continued pallor of my complexion, and my absolute failure to do the “normal” thing and get a suntan.

Make no mistake, it is a failure as far as some people are concerned. I’m sure they would argue otherwise, but the comments are always uttered in a critical, disparaging tone, and I am left in no doubt whatsoever that I am deemed to have failed. (I’m also left with the clear message that the person I’m talking to thinks I’m lying when I say I enjoyed my holiday. “Well, you don’t have much of a tan,” they’ll counter, the unspoken part of that sentence being “so it can’t have been that good, can it?”) I should have gotten a suntan, is the message. I shouldn’t have worn sunblock. “Oh, I never wear sunscreen,” my detractor will always say smugly, before turning away, secure in the knowledge that they’re much cleverer than me (and have much better holidays into the bargain).

pale and pround: why I won't be getting a sun-tan, no matter how much you tell me I need one

Why is there so much pressure on pale people to tan?

It’s not just me, either. Both Terry and my mother have been subjected to the “why don’t you have a tan?” comments this year, and they both have much darker complexions than I do. On last week, someone commented on a photo of Kristen Stewart saying, “She needs to get a tan”. Er, no. No she doesn’t. If she wants to get one, of course, that’s completely up to her, but she shouldn’t be made to feel like she HAS to have one just to conform to society’s current beauty ideal, which says that suntans = good and pale skin = bad.

People like my husband, of course, have an excuse for their “errant” behaviour: kidney transplant patients have a much higher risk of skin cancer, so for him, getting a suntan would be total madness, although that doesn’t stop people asking him why he isn’t browner. I, however, have no such excuse, and the fact that I’m a pale-skinned Scottish redhead just doesn’t cut it: I should be doing my best to change my skin colour, apparently, and if I don’t, people will continue to tut-tut at me in despair. 

I should be doing my best to change my skin colour, apparently, and if I don’t, people will continue to tut-tut at me in despair.

Well, let ’em. Because here’s the thing: I don’t tan. Ever. And I’m not about to start. I would no more lie out in the sun without  sunblock than I’d set myself on fire. Both would be crazy for me. Contrary to what appears to be the popular belief, a suntan is NOT healthy. Certainly not for me, anyway. I was raised to protect my skin, to avoid getting burnt, and to accept that I will never be a “golden” girl. I’m good with that. And let me be clear:  I am obviously not above using self-tanner if and when I feel like it, as readers of this blog are well aware. Absolutely not. I like my pale skin, but I also like my not-quite-as-pale skin (which is the most I get from self-tanners. Even with a freshly-applied tan, people will still ask me why I’m so pale), so I will hit the bottle from time to time, sure. I’m not a slave to it, though, and I’m also not above just saying “to hell with it”, and flaunting my pale skin.

I’m not ashamed of being pale.

I don’t see why I should be. It’s my natural colour, it’s the way my skin is supposed to look, and there should be nothing wrong with that. In fact there is nothing wrong with that, except in the minds of a few people who seem to believe that pale isn’t interesting, and that the only purpose of a vacation is to get a suntan.

This is why I’ve decided to cut back on the fake tan and embrace my lily white skin from now on: or for the time being, at least. I’m not giving up the bottle completely: I still have a few tanning/bronzing products to review, and I can’t promise there won’t be times when I’ll decide to turn my legs a patchy shade of brown. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using fake tan, after all, but I do think there’s something wrong with trying to make people feel bad for being pale, and so I’m going to be pale and proud. For a few weeks, at least.
Pale and Proud: Why I won't be getting a suntan, no matter how often you tell me to

why is there so much pressure on pale people to get a sun tan?
Hi, I'm Amber, and I'm a full-time parenting/lifestyle blogger, and author of My Blogging Secrets, now available from Amazon. I live in Scotland with my husband, Terry, and baby son, Max, and you can read more about me here.

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  1. Hallelujah! My family is Irish and Norwegian, so as I am sure you can imagine, I am quite pale. Growing up in the mid-west, all summer random strangers (and sometimes even people I knew) would make an issue of my lack of tan.
    “Do you go out during the day?”
    “Um, no. I tunneled here with the other mole people.”
    Around the time I was 16 or so, I decided that I would embrace my paleness (and the freckles I inevitably get over summer). I have to say, I have also gotten a lot of compliments on the “creaminess” of my skin.
    You’re lovely, don’t let those orange jerks tell you otherwise.

    • Thank you! I’m glad I’m not alone ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually find it quite shocking, to be honest: it’s just so irresponsible to urge people to lie out in the sun, and quite apart from that, we wouldn’t DREAM of telling people with naturally dark skin that they “should” be paler, so why on earth is OK to tell pale people to tan? Bizarre.

    • I came across this blog while googling “how to avoid tanning too much” XD. I’m in the exact opposite situation, where people scold me and advice me against going out in the sun too much. I have a job that requires me to travel in this horrible sunny summer and being wheatish skinned I tan very easy. Hell with it..!… Am glad I got to read this blog….I guess pale or tanned you can never make people happy :/

    • The story of my life! hahaha. “the beach is calling for you” “basement-tanned” “morgue-tanned” “glass of milk” “raw” (as uncooked)… Growing up in a tropical country being Galician and Norwegian descendant I had to hear all this every single day.

  2. I totally agree! Although I don’t self-tan either because I don’t like to cater to the pale is bad, tan is good norm. Also self-tanning is sort of a hassle, and I think I look more striking when I’m pale. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once, my mother was picking me up at an airport at night, and when she drove up to me she said she knew it was me because I glow in the dark! Anyway, I think it’s good for people of all colors to embrace their natural skin tones. Rock on!

  3. Amen from me, too! I don’t tan, and if I skip sunscreen, only end up burned red like your MAC lipstick! Not only is it decidedly not attractive, it hurts, and then peels, which is even less attractive. Never mind the skin cancer it would surely cause.

    I know someone who had skin cancer, and it too, was decidedly not pretty. And the scar she has from having it removed is also highly unattractive. I’ve got enough flaws without those, never mind that it can’t always be removed successfully to begin with, and even if it can be removed, it’s not like tweezing a stray hair here & there now, is it? It’s surgery, and/or radiation, and/or chemotherapy, which will make you feel like you got hit by a truck, from the accounts I’ve heard.

    So, thanks, but no thanks to anyone who thinks we fair-skinned folk “should” tan more.

  4. I have often called people racist for “laughing” at how pale I am, you can imagine summer in Madrid all the looks and remarks I get like I need a few days at the pool or the beach to look “healthier and happier” but hey, how many of these people look 10 years younger than they really are because they dont go out in the sun, most look older with a tan, I know a 25 year old who has the skin of a 40 year old, face like an old battered handbag….why waste money on anti wrinkle cream, just use sunscreen (as the song says!). My mum is getting skin grafts just now for a malignant mole she had removed on her back and on her leg and now has to go through a load of tests to see if it spread…just not worth it, though they say the damage is done in your teens or before tho…

  5. Good on you! If only every pale girl embraced the beauty and health of pale skin.

    I’m naturally pale. Couldn’t tan even if I wanted to. I always curse my stupidity when I forget to put on sunscreen. When asked why I don’t tan I always reply bluntly because I want to avoid skin cancer.

    Go with pale. Pale is far more beautiful then leather or satsuma.

  6. My friends back in college all conformed to the tan all-year-round look. Not only did one turn the most cancerous red i’ve ever seen, but the other got dry patches all over her face from the excessive tanning. Knowing what it can do later on in life (and being chronically lethargic when faced with temperatures above 16 degrees celsius) I leave the sun well alone. Besides I think dark hair, blue eyes and pale skin look much more fetching together than orange perma-glow.

    • I have always wondered why the sun and heat make me unable to breathe and I just want to run out of it! I am in awe of people who can work out in the sun. I always wondered if this had something to do with my being very pale, anemic or dehydrated. My whole life I have been shamed in some form or another for having white skin. I was and am too embarrassed and ashamed to wear shorts because of white legs. I get very agitated when people talk about skin tone and darker skin being treated in prejudice. My grandmother was red headed and Irish and she too was made to feel she needed to be browner. I wonder where the skin shade shaming came from?

  7. All I have to say is…support my pastey bitches! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m really pastey (or porcelain I should say), and I live in Florida (get ridiculed all the time), so nothing wrong being pale.


  8. Hear, hear!! Your skin is lovely, and it suits you! I don’t know about you, but for me it’s been even easier to feel beautiful in my fair skin because there have been many more images of models and actresses with fair skin in the media. I’ve also found several more bloggers to follow who are pale of face and that helps even more – there’s something about seeing the average girl go about her life happy with a pale complexion that really helps my self esteem! With celebrities, it is nice because I can point them out to naysayers, but bloggers (and friends) I feel more like I’ve joined a club.

    Now if only I could get my red haired fiance to pile on the sunscreen – he says I’m nagging him when I remind him and always says he’s put it on but he tends to turn up with a sunburn anyway! I found some full spectrum SPF 110+ for him, so if he develops a sunburn and claims to have put that on I’ll know he’s fibbing.

  9. Hi Amber

    I am a natual blonde, blue eyed gal and it is safe to say “I do not tan, I am meant to be pale”! I only wish I had worked that out when I was younger and didn’t sit in the garden and bare my unprotected flesh in all hopes of becoming “tanned”.

    I love your skin colour, love it love love it! and just wish I had protected my lovely pale skin like you had so mine didn’t have the reddy hughes it now has due to sun damage!

    Think everyone should embrace there skin colour – think you may have inspired me to get my milky white legs (normally hidden) out next time its sunny and be proud of being pale!

    Quick Q if you dont mind- where do you get your sunblock from, I can only find factor50+, and with this, I still burn!

    Thanks muchly

    • Thank you!

      I actually buy most of my sunblock in the States: it’s much, much cheaper there and in Florida they have lots of very high SPF stuff, which comes in a dry spray, which I like. I mostly use a Coppertone one which I think is SPF75, but it depends what’s on offer at Target! I normally buy some extra to bring home with me, but I didn’t this year because my luggage allowance was already maxed out, so I need to check and see if I can buy it somewhere here.

      At home the weather is so bad, though, that I normally only really need to use sunscreen on my face (at the moment I’m using this one) because the rest of me is covered up most of the time. With that said, if I don’t have any of my Coppertone stuff in stock, I normally find that SPF 50 is fine, as long as I re-apply it often enough.

      • Just watch out when you buy from the states because they don’t have the same uva regulations that you get in the eu (oh and for the record in the eu you can’t market anything as higher than 50+ so something labelled spf100 in the us would be labelled 50+ in the uk)

  10. I’m really pale; so pale, in fact, that people ask me on a regular basis if I’m unwell or about to faint. I can’t tan either and pile on the factor 50 when I’m outside as I play sports quite frequently and don’t want the burn which comes from being under a blazing sun for 3 hours.

    I don’t even use fake tanner either because it just looks like dirt on my skin, and it smells awful. Instead I’ve embraced my ivory skin and red freckles, and I think pale girls look very pretty.

  11. Let’s hear it for us bidet beauties! I can’t tan either and find fake stuff too much hassle and too unnatural. People who have that as a holiday goal are just sad, IMHO. At least you can look back on your FL holiday with a shedload of great memories (at least I assume so). That’s always going to be more important than dedicating 2 weeks to getting a tan. Life’s too short for that!

  12. I think you look gorgeous! Pale and interesting.

    I’m also really pale – I used to St. Tropez religiously every summer but I’m fed up of the smell/stained bed sheets/hassle! I’m embracing my paleness this year however, and someone at work said to me “Don’t fancy getting a tan this year?” I replied “Nah, just don’t fancy getting skin cancer love”


  13. Well, I’m not as pale as you. That’s for darn sure. I live in Australia, so it’s hard not to be a little tanned when you can never remember to apply sunscreen before leaving the house. But I’m naturally very pale, and I like it very much!

    I do actually tan relatively easily, as I’ve discovered over the years as I’ve burned, but I don’t want to, because this is my look. The pale works with the brown hair, and the blue eyes, and the red lips and retro-influenced makeup and hair (sometimes). The only people who really comment on my skintone are my coworkers, who only do so to agree that my skin totally works for me, and allows me to wear all of the big feathery hair accessories we sell and look neat.

    So I wouldn’t say I have experienced any hardship over it! If I had I’d be the same though. Let your pale flag fly, I say.

  14. Hey girl, don’t worry. Be proud of your complexion, health of your skin and the fact that you wear sunblock to protect it. I’m a black woman (but a paler complexion, say… Halle Berry) and I get that remark every summer as if I’m not having a good summer… I do, but I just tan quite slowly. But then again, to those who make those remarks I always tell myself they’re projecting or try to be boastful about their own successful tan. Nothing one wants to be compared to. Just be you, and be proud of it. Kudos!!

  15. Amen!! Hallejuah!! I 100% agree with you. I have porcelain, lilly white, fair, pale skin with freckles and reddish-brown hair, and I know how it feels to be made fun of for it. I see it like, this is my natural skin color, I was born this color, why would there be anything wrong with that??

    It’s like, would someone go up to someone who was born with dark skin and ask them why aren’t they lighter, no they wouldn’t, it’s the same offensively to ask pale people why aren’t we darker. I don’t get the logic of why it’s ok to pester pale people, and not any other skin tones.

    I’m not interested in self tanners though either, because they are chemicals being absorbed into your skin, I’m fine with my skin color because I’m unique and don’t look like everyone else, and they are a lot of maintenance. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve always been pale as a ghost but having had M.E. for nearly eight years and spending a lot of time bedbound has made me paler than ever. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me I need to spend more time in the sun – or called me ‘Morticia’ on the grounds that all pale brunettes must be goths. I don’t tan and I don’t particularly want to – I’m paranoid about the risk of skin cancer and I don’t have the time or the patience for fake tan. I worship at the altar of Dita von Teese and all the other pasty beauties out there ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Totally agree. I’ve had people scream rude comments at me for wearing shorts in the summer before-all because I wasn’t tan enough. This whole tanning thing is yet another of the extremely unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards we’ve adopted over the years, along with bleaching your teeth (or skin!), extreme plastic surgery, unhealthy body weights (I’m talking those gained through eating disorders, not just being skinny), and bleaching hair (one of the WORST things you can do to your hair, especially over a long period of time). It’s like we cant stand natural beauty anymore. I also don’t get why, as I live in a very racist place, people hate anyone with dark skin, but then also scream at anyone with pale skin. I don’t think there’s ANY way to please these people, so we shouldn’t try.

  18. Amber,I couldn’t agree more.
    I, like you have virtually no melanin ( I don’t even have freckles!) and embrace my paleness. A couple of years ago when returning from holiday in Cyprus I got some weird looks @ the airport. When I asked what was so funny I was told this is DEPARTURES! I had spent the previous 14 days wearing sunscreen, floppy hat and sunglasses, even wearing a t- shirt whilst swimming to protect me, so I didn’t burn. They seemed amazed that someone would come to Cyprus and return home looking as pale as I did.

    I wear a minimum SPF 20 on my face and neck, even in the Scottish winter and SPF 50 when the sun makes an appearance, but I occasionally get caught out. I burned my arms earlier this year on a slightly sunny day, when the temp was only 11C. My wonderful mother in law who lives in the US sent me some Neutrgena SPF 100 when she heard.

    I do joke with my co-workers that it willl be fashionable to be pale blue one day, and whilst they are rushing to Boots to buy their pale blue skin in a bottle , I will be one step ahead I was born with this skin and have 2 choices when it comes to it’s colour. I can either be pale blue, or tomato red, and frankly I’m sticking with the pale blue!!

  19. I totally agree! I am also a pale girl and get truly sick of all the comments about how I should go get a tan because it just “looks better/healthier” or questions why I’m not tan. Whenever summer arrives I find myself repeating the same chorus: “I don’t tan, I wear sunscreen” and get lots of blank looks that plainly say I’m weird. It’s so annoying how many people act as if putting on sunscreen is something only OCD people take seriously or as if it’s eccentric behaviour. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pale skin, there was a time in human history when fair skin was considered a hallmark of true beauty and being tan was a no-no for fashionable ladies of society. Besides, who wants premature wrinkles or worse, cancer? No thanks, I’d rather have my pale hide and flaunt it!;)

  20. I know exactly what you mean about being made to feel like you have ‘failed’ on a foreign holiday by not coming back with a tan. I always get asked “where’s your tan?” and usually reply that I was concentrating on not getting burned to which people often say if I burned it would be brown after! What a revalation that’s where I’ve been wrong all these years, must burn skin and risk cancer so that the end result is a bit of a tan, so worth it! The most I get is the alleviation of the Scottish blue tinge but it’s only something I really notice. I use fake tan sometimes as I don’t have that lovely alabaster skin you have, I have quite a lot of redness so it reduces that and makes me feel like less of the heffer I am!

    • I always wonder how they’d feel if, when they returned from a vacation, we all looked at them in horror and went, “OMG, what on earth did you TAN for, don’t you own sunscreen?!” I might start doing that to the worst offenders, actually ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I once found myself horrified at the comments of some ex-colleagues who were saying that is was “wrong” that people wore skirts and shorts with pale legs and that they “just shouldn’t do it”. Why not? Surely it’s not that much of a crime to show off pale legs if you want to. I’m sure it came up again when we were talking about different shades of tights (“the darker the better” – who really wants their legs and arms/face to be dramatically different shades anyway… but that’s a whole other story).

    The same ex-colleagues are the ones that use SPF6 or less “tanning oil”, come back from their holidays looking like leather handbags and will likely end up with skin problems anyway.

    I don’t tan well and nor am I particularly bothered by this – I was born with pale skin so I am meant to have pale skin!

    • Funnily enough, one of the things that inspired this post was an article on the Daily Mail website a couple of weeks ago (I know, I know, I shouldn’t read it, it never fails to annoy me!) about some celebrity who was on holiday, and was being chastised by the Mail for wearing a bikini “too early” in her vacation – i.e. when her skin was still pale. (The journalist did seem reassured by photos of the woman doing the decent thing and lying out in the sun, though.) It just enraged me: I mean, pale people get too hot and want to go for a swim, too! Are we supposed to wear turtle necks and long skirts/trousers in baking hot temperatures, just so we don’t offend someone with the sight of our natural skin colour? Shocking. And I know I keep coming back to this, but I just can’t imagine the (justified) outrage it would cause if a national newspaper wrote a story condemming a black person for daring to show their skin: such a double standard!

      • This has bugged me for quite some time: If you are should only show your bare arms and legs when they are already tanned, how are you supposed to get a tan in the first place? It simply won’t happen with your body completely covered. Surely I will not visit a sunbed or a tanning salon beforehand just to be “allowed” to wear short skirts! ๐Ÿ™

  22. Thanks for such great responses to this, everyone! I’m so happy to know I’m not the only person out there who thinks there should be nothing wrong with being the colour nature intended you to be (whatever that colour is), and that it’s just downright irresponsible to encourage people to risk skin cancer in the name of beauty (or maybe just conformity).

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I am glad to see others like myself. My family is of Irish/German descent. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. My whole life I was made fun of called Casper and whitey. I applaude celebrities that step out with pale skin such as Kristen Stewart and Nicole Kidman and show being that pale can be beautiful. I went to high school with a lot of sun worshippers and I see them now and I am shocked by how much older some of them look because they lived in the tanning bed or lying out by the pool. I worked in a tanning salon several years ago and I was badgered to keep tanning and get dark because it looked good for the business. I did tan but I only got a hint of color, I was even used as a guinea pig for their new spray tan because I was paler and they wanted to see how dark it would make me! I am older now and when someone says something to me about my pale skin (usually family, gotta love them!) he stands up for me and says he loves me just the way I am! He said he thinks it is great because I look so much younger than other women my age and he doesn’t want me to get wrinkly way before my time. Society worries way too much about what others think. If everyone would just be happy with their own body and skin and quit comparing themselves to celebrities in the first place we would all be in a much better place.

  24. you are so right! i have spanish ancestors and my brother and father are very dark-haired, they turn chocolate brown as soon as the sunlight hits them… i’m more of a brunette with the skin of a blonde girl though. people compare me to my brother and think i’m sick because i’m so pale. my arms get a bit of color since they are exposed to sunlight a lot more (never without sunscreen though) and my face gets freckles. the rest stays milky-white. i actually like it a lot more than orange fake tan or tan lines, and my boyfriend loves my pale skin!

  25. I am also v pale and have to put up with people telling me that if I just sat in the sun a bit more I would tan – er, no, I really won’t.

    I was also astounded when someone recently commented that I was so pale because I didn’t eat meat -as if paleness was some kind of disease! I have to admit to still feeling envious of those with a natural golden glow though!

    • Charlotte – not eating meat is often seen as some kind of disease as well! I’m a pale vegetarian, so it get it both ways! I’m also naturally pretty pale and wear 50 spf at the merest hint of sun. I’ve had a few bad sunburns – one of them on my chest, and the skin has never quite regained its previous paleness. I’m okay with that, but it’s a clear reminder to me to always put on plenty of sunscreen. I like being pale anyway – it suits my colouring, and I don’t need to look like anyone else and I hate people feeling the need to tell me what colour my skin should be or what I should eat! x

  26. I’ve had the “where’s the tan then?” comments after returning from holiday too. They even said it to my son who was quite young at the time….yep, ok, I’m going to frazzle my sons skin just so you think we’ve had a better holiday!

    I like being pale, I do tend to get a bit of a colour in the summer but I’m still considered pale by those “normal” folks.

    I remember the days when I was flummoxed by skin foundations etc as I was too pale even for “ivory” colours. (When I worked in a dept store, Elizabeth Arden had this colour mix thing going on and were doing samples for everyone, as staff we mosied over for freebies but they couldn’t make anything light enough for me!! I’m sure these companies have realised now that there are paler than pale people out there!! I hope.)

  27. I have pale Celtic skin with eczema kept in check by immunosuppressants so I have to avoid the sun as much as possible. (That’s part of why I like cloudy days much better than sunny ones.) As I’ve got older I get fewer comments – maybe because my face doesn’t look like an old paper bag…

    I’ve heard you can get factor 100 sunblock in Tehran that comes with optional fake tan, though that’s probably a bit out of the way for most people…

  28. FWIW, I think you have beautiful skin!

    For a different perspective….I’m half Italian, so I naturally have olive-toned skin and tan quite easily; however, even just a couple years ago I used to apply sunscreen religiously, bought foundation maybe slightly too light for my skin (I was so young, so naive), and avoided strong sunlight like a vampire because DARNIT, I wanted to have delicate mysterious porcelain skin.

    I too have learned to embrace my natural skin. I apologize if it sounds obnoxious to be commenting and saying “woe is me, I tan so easily but I DO NOT WANT,” I’m just trying to say that I wished, and still wish, that I had a complexion more like yours! (I still go all out to protect my face — my arms can tan a little, whatever, but not my face!) The point is, everybody’s lovely the way they are — the original is usually much better than any alterations! — and it would be great if everybody else could be so accepting.

  29. Way to be proud of your pale skin! I am totally in the same boat. I’m not a redhead, but I’m naturally pretty pale and I won’t ever let my skin tan past a slight gold. In my head, I’m slightly tan and enjoy it, while others still think I’m pale as a sheet. Thank you for standing up for the pale ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love and Turtledoves,

  30. Think of me as your pale older sister, sunscreen users, and let me assure you that slathering on the sunscreen is worth the effort. I don’t care whether you’re naturally pale or darker skinned — love that skin and take care of it. Protect it from too much sun. I have had the last laugh on every person who told me in high school, college, and in my thirties that I was pale and that they could never stand to be so pale or wear sunscreen. At 40, a woman with healthy skin looks decades younger than her friends who oiled up and baked in the sun, and that’s a really good feeling.

  31. Amen Pale Sisters!

    I’m the kid whose Mum put zinc on her nose, and had to wear tee shirts over all swim gear.

    As someone now in her 40’s (shhhhh!) I get asked if I’m the DAUGHTER of my college friends!
    Friends aren’t too keen, but I think it’s paybacks for all the times I sat in the shade/sunscreened during those holidays.

  32. THANK YOU for this!! I’m also extremely pale, and people point it out to me all the time… as if I didn’t already know, haha. I like my skin the way it is, although I do also take the self-tan bottle to my legs on occasion, like you. I’ve always been pale, and so is most of my family. I don’t get why I’m supposed to change my skin. People seem horrified to learn that I wear sunscreen!

    My mother is also naturally pale, but tanned a lot when she was my age to “look better”. She got over that, but now has skin pigmentation problems on the areas that got the most sun. She just wasn’t meant to get any darker!

  33. I also find that even if pale girls do tan, it’s never enough. Im very pale in the winter but I tan really easily. I could be dark brown if I wanted to but I wear my sunscreen and turn a golden color anyway. Even with a little bit of a tan, which is really noticable if you’ve seen me in the winter, I still get disapproving comments. Im noticibly darker than I am the rest of the year but people still ask me why i dont tan, or if I’ve locked myself in a basement. You cant win.

  34. Yay! I’m also proud to be pale and I’m so glad that you’re promoting a positive view of being lily white.

    I’ve never sunbathed or used sunbeds and never will. It’s risky for everyone but most dangerous of all for us pretty pale people. Considering the additional risk because of my family’s history of skin cancer, doing either would boil down to an act of monumental stupidity on my part.

    I also don’t use fake tan because it makes me ill. I don’t know whether it’s the chemicals or the smell but if I use any kind of fake tan (even the “gradual tan” products), I’m physically sick for a day or so afterwards. I came to realise that it’s my body’s way of telling me that I’m supposed to be white, my natural colour is the best colour for me. I love it now as I think it sets me apart from all the orange girls out there.

    Finding makeup is a nightmare though. The only brands I know of which do foundation pale enough for me are Collection 2000 and GOSH. Trouble is their textures don’t really work well on my skin so I’d love some other suggestions if you or your readers have some.

    • I use Alima Pure mineral foundation — they have a HUGE color selection! Their palest neutral is the only color I’ve found thus far, out of any brand, that has actually matched my skin!

  35. Yes!

    Foundation recomendations would be fantastic! I too have a hard time finding shades light enough for my skin.

  36. Hi, about foundation. I use BareMineral’s ID powder foundation in Fair. It’s the lightest foundation i’ve been able to find and looks good on pale skin. I even went to the lengths of using no 7. translucent powder at one time because it was the lightest I could get before happening on BareMinerals.

  37. It’s interesting that people idolize being tan, because before the 1920s, it was not popular at all to have tanned, dark skin in the western world. If someone was pale, it meant that they were rich enough to stay indoors and not have to work outside for a living.

    Other cultures today still value having a lighter skin tone, just take a look at any of the cosmetics and creams marketed to women in Asian countries that promise to lighten skin.

    I grew up in California, and no one believed I was actually from there since I’ve always been pale. As an adult in my late 20s, I take pride in protecting my skin when I go outside.

  38. good for you, i think pale skin is pretty, and you are gorgeous ! tans are ok but many people overdo it and are either a ridiculously dark orangey brown or just plain leathery. tans can look awesome but most people are addicted to the horrendous shades of orange that they look plain silly, so girls embrace your natural skin tone because its gorgeous and soo much nicer than orange

  39. Another natural blonde here. I hate the feel of sunscreen, but if I’m going to be out more than an hour or so, I wear it anyway. Otherwise, I wear a hat or carry a parasol. YES, a parasol. I’m a seamstress, and I made removable umbrella covers with lace around the edges. I am well known as “the umbrella lady” in my area.

  40. Wow, i completely agree with you. I’m a pale freckley brunette, i burn fairly easily and never tan. I’m often giggled at for how meticulous i am about applying suncream. I don’t tan so i don’t try, why on earth would i want to burn my skin in the hopes of looking darker? Personally i don’t use fake tan. Some people do and That’s fine. I just prefer being pale. I can’t imagine what i’d look like tanned! Your skin is gorgeous and you look fantastic just the way you are.

  41. I am so happy to read this article. I have what can only be described as a Irish complexion. I haven’t encountered any real negativity about my decision to remain pale, but I have inspired a lot of head scratching and confused looks when I explain that I avoid tanning. We’ve had some really hot weather lately in the UK and far beyond not wanting to tan, I just find it really uncomfortable to be that warm. But we get warm weather so rarely in England that it’s treated as some kind of blasphemy to admit that you don’t really enjoy it.

    And beyond the obvious health reasons to protect yourself from the sun, I’m vain, goddamnit, and I want to have lovely youthful skin for as long as possible!

  42. I’m so pleased I found this article!!!
    I have always been exceptionally pale and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    I live in New Zealand, we have one of the highest occurances of skin cancer in the world.
    I literally wear sunscreen every day year round.
    Around 2 years ago I was hospitalised for sunburn and it was absolute agony! (it happened accidentally I might add, I’m not foolish enough to lie in the the sun for extended periods of time)
    Anyone who chooses not to wear sunscreen will definatly regret it the future!!!

  43. Seriously, good for you. Pale skin is beautiful & should be embraced more often ๐Ÿ™‚
    You’re a revolutionary! Screw the norm. When everyone else is wrinkled and baggy and you’re still glowing, pale & youthful, you’ll get the last laugh.

  44. I know I read somewhere that Dita von Teese wears L’Oreal True Match in N1. I bought myself some, but a slightly different shade. They have one that is a yellower pale and one that is a pinker pale, and I needed the pinker. I’ve been very pleased with it. I always moisturize first and then apply as little of the foundation as possible (the liquid does gush out of that pump bottle, so until you get used to it you do tend to end up with too much on your fingers and consequently on your face), and it blends in with my skin tone well.

  45. Hooray! Someone else who acctually LIKES to be pale! It kind of annoys me, my dad is constantly telling me that I need to get out in the sun because I’m so white >.> I just repeat the add that is over here in Australia that says, “there is nothing healthy about a tan”. Why would I even bother sun baking when I could be in the water!?!?! Doing what you should be doing when you go to the beach or pool… When I used to go to the beach with friends I would threaten to put hot sand on their backs just to stop them from sun baking and get them to do something FUN! Good work on the article BTW!

  46. Hi everyone!

    Thanks again for all of the thoughtful responses to this – I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that so many of you are also proud to be pale – or not pale, as the case may be: I think no matter what colour you are, your natural skin is always going to be the colour that looks most beautiful on you ๐Ÿ™‚

    In response to the questions about foundation – I’m planning a post on foundation for pale skin for next week, so watch this space!

  47. I’m not bothered about tanning either. In fact, I’m not really one for sunshine. It’s nice an’ all, but I don’t feel the sudden urge to run out of the house in a bikini as soon as the sun comes out.

    But, I did go away this year and found myself almost right on the Equator (as you do). Even with SPF50, I tanned. Actually, my legs do look quite nice with a bit of colour. I didn’t try to, and I think that’s the difference. I don’t understand the appeal of lying on a beach and sunbathing. Have you tried to read a book LYING DOWN? While trying not to look at the sun? Impossible! So what, I’m just meant to spend me holiday *sleeping* on the beach? This is not what I paid my airfare for.

    Getting a bit of colour on your face is one thing, but I don’t see tanning as an activity. I’d rather be enjoying my holiday.

  48. Why on earth would people get annoyed about other people being pale/fair? I don’t get it. First, it’s none of their business. Second, there are so many beautiful pale people out there who look amazing with lily white skin and you’re one of them, Amber. Good to know you don’t bother what those people say.

    Personally, I am olive skinned and get a tan easily, but I’d never tell anyone with lighter skin to go out in the sun or get a fake tan. Who am I to tell anyone how they are supposed to be or not to be?

  49. I use Lily Lolo mineral foundation. It comes in loads of shades, from super pale to fairly dark. It’s only available online but you can buy samples. I use the palest shade and it’s fine on my bluey-pink face!

  50. Well, the sun is a killer so you are totally right. Also when we lived in Australia and also South Africa, many older people had skin just like that of tortoises – caused by far too much sun. It’s not pretty and ‘bathing’ in the sun is so very dangerous. I’m proud to be pale! Like you, coming back from holiday with my pale skin causes many comments to be thrown my way (‘did it rain all the time then?’ and so on) from ignorant people. I don’t care, and I’m pleased I’m not the only one. Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. OMG, thank you !

    Personally, I’m so pale I think I could actually pass for a Twilight vampire (minus the sparkles, thanks god) When I was a young teen, I was desperate to be so pale, but now, I’m okay with it (and as you said : no tan, no skin cancer) I just wish I was more a “chinese doll” pale than a “duh I’m sick” pale ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Now, I’m even thinking to play it japanese style next summer : high gloves, long sleeves, an umbrella, large hat, aaaaaand sunscreen everywhere at the very beginning of spring. And lightning cosmetics.

    And, by the way : I think you’re really really pretty. Please, stay pale ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Hi! Thank you for this post. I’m norwegian, and I never tan either. I just burn, and that is not at all healthy.

    Like you, I have stopped to care about what others think. After a journey through South East Asia last year, where I experienced how Asian girls damage their skin to get paler, I’m not going to damage my skin to get a tan.

    I don’t even think tan people are pretty. So, yeay to us!

  53. amen, sister! (i know this has been said like 1,000 times already, but i just wanted to chime in). i’m finnish and blonde and mega pale. the most my skin knows of “tan” is the slightly gold farmer’s tan i get on my arms just from walking around with short sleeves in the summer. i probably haven’t had anything close to a tan since i was 8 and spent all my summers in the pool.

    i too have been subject to questions about why i’m not more tan, or why i don’t try. i love being pale, as does my husband…in fact, he’s told me he’d vastly prefer i never get tan because he loves my super paleness and me being healthy. good to hear there’s others out there!

  54. I wear spf 50 everyday and people say that i am ridiculous, but they are the ones paying to burn their skin in a tanning bed every week.

  55. It’s terrible here in New Zealand as we have hardly any ozone layer and STILL there’s an obssession with tanning. I always ask my friends why they complain about not being tanned and having “pasty” skin – they can never tell me why it’s better to be tanned… so I tell them why it’s better to love the skin you’re in and use sunblock every day.

    I’ve never, ever understood the tanning thing. Especially the orange unnatural “holy crap what the hell is that creature” tanning thing.

  56. Thanks so much for sharing this! This is the first summer I’ve not even bothered with fake tan and gone bare-legged anyways. I used to always feel ashamed at being so pale and think I had to fake darker skin in order to have the right wear skirts and dresses in the summer without tights to cover my porcelain skin tone. Now, I no longer care and I am much happier for it! As a bonus, no one believes I’m 31–when I have to share my age, people are genuinely shocked. Just makes me happy to have committed to all the years of high-SPF.

  57. It’s nice to hear another “no tan” voice out there. I’m of Irish and English descent, with the alabaster skin to go with it. Even under slathers of sunscreen, I had melanoma for the first time when I was 8. If I mention that to people as reason for not tanning, they brush it off as not that bad of a cancer. Nope, still deadly even if it’s “only” on my skin. Since then, I’ve kept up my sunscreen habit, and stay quite pale. When I studied abroad in Spain, people didn’t believe I was from the U.S. much less California. They said all Californians are tan, I must be English! Now, I console myself with the fact that I’m never going to age.

  58. “Oh gosh, please get a tan on those legs, you’re blinding!”
    This is my aunt, every single summer, for the last 24 summers.
    I’m pale, deadly pale, I like myself this way, I stopped getting a tan, even accidentally, ten years ago, because I liked myself pale, without bikini signs.
    Then I found out it’s also healthy.

    So really, if you like yourself with self tanner, go ahead, but don’t worry for other people’s comments: they envy your confidence!

  59. Yes yes yes. I don’t want to look like a handbag when I’m older! Not to mention the possibility of skin cancer. I get the same sort of remarks all the time and it makes me feel horrible. Luckily, my mum is extremely skin smart and understands and defends me, at least from a health perspective.

    But from a beauty perspective, I actually like the way pale skin looks! (I once said that and was accused of being racist, so I should say that all natural skin tones are beautiful). For me, I have very bright lips and eyes and very dark hair, and so I like the contrast.

  60. You could be a porcelain doll or a 40s starlet, and I think you’d look a bit silly orange (just like…erm…everyone else). Besides, with magazines being so saturated with the orange people, a beautiful pale person really stands out.

    I am also a pale type — after having spent 3 weeks in the Mediterranean, outside most of the time every day, I came home whiter than my parents, who had been dwelling in the snow those three weeks. We laughed, but some people genuinely thought I hadn’t spent enough time laying out in the sun on beaches. Seriously? People want me to go all the way to Greece and Italy to lay about on a towel on some sand? I can’t think of anything more boring!

    My grandmother moved from very northern Scotland (near Wick I think) to south Wales when she married, and found the Sun to be a wonderful, exciting new thing. Consequently, she spent quite a lot of time in it. And then she died of skin cancer. I think in hindsight, she’d rather have been one of the pasty legion.

  61. I couldn’t agree more! I’m pale (though not as pale as you, I’m MAC NC15) and people often comment on it during the summer. I have no interest in having a tan – it’s bad for you, you’d get ugly tan lines and I much prefer the look of lighter skin, after all, it os my natural skin colour! If anything I’d like to be paler, I think your skin tone is lovely and you should definitely embrace it.

  62. Absolutely! I hate to say this, but you’re actually very brave coming out and saying this (isn’t that sad?) I’m a very pale irish/polish/german girl. I don’t tan, I burn and freckle, and though I like to try sometimes, It doesn’t concern me that I’m just not going to bronze. My step mother is a very italian woman who lives next to the pool all summer. All my husband and I get is “You really need to go outside more”. And we do. A lot. We just don’t tan. And we’re ok with that. A little sun is good for most people, but you can enjoy it without baking.

  63. You are gorgeous in your skin! And I think it’s terrific that you don’t give in to pressure just to get a little color. If I knew 35 years ago what we do today about sun safety, my skin would look a lot better. Can you believe we used to TRY to get a slight sunburn thinking we’d tan faster?

  64. Wow!

    I am blond and very pale. In highschool I got teased a lot about my skin color. I got spraytanned a couples of times and turned ”healthy” orange. Now, I accept the skin I am in, but sometimes, it’s hard to feel good about my pale color… I work in a summer camp and I can’t count the number of kids who asked me if I had a disease or what made me look so white. They sometimes call me ยซthe zombieยป. It’s annoying sometimes! I hate that pale is associated with unhealthy because in fact, it is! I wear spf 100 and I never lay outside just to bake. I am very aware of skin cancer (my grandmother has it) and I do not want to have severe wrinkles when I am 25!

    Thanks for that post!

  65. I’m not a redhead (I’m brunette), but I have “redhead skin” that’s naturally pale, burns easily and gets freckles when objected to the sun. A friend of mine (who has red hair) and I have recently gotten the “How can one be so pale in weather conditions like these?!” when we were at a rock festival and still looked quite white (with freckles ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) after three whole days out in the sun. (We regularly applied and re-applied sunscreen 30+) I have since gotten a very very light tan on my forearms, but that’s it. I just don’t tan the way other people do and I don’t want to. My mother (who always urged me to play outside and get a little colour when I was a child) is a real sun worshipper who used to sleep in the sun for hours without sunscreen on. Now she has to go see the dermatologist every few months to have some suspicious skin patches checked and cut out. No thanks, not with me!
    At the rock festival I mentioned above, there were a lot of people whose skin colour instantly reminded me of either cooked lobsters or grilled chickens and it simply hurt just to look at them. I guess they consider their complexions healthy. Well, we all do know better.
    So thanks for this post and keep up that regal pale look. It suits you very well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. I’m joining in a bit late with my comments, but am very happy to see that there are pale girls out there.
    Like all of you I often get comments about my fair skin, but by now, after over 10 years of pallor, I have coined my perfect trademark answer:
    “Tanning is for leather, not skin.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  67. Up until a couple of months ago I wore fake tan all the time, but I got really fed up with the amount of make up I’d have to wear on my face to match the rest of my body, so I decided to stop wearing it. The first day I arrived into work with my natural skin tone I was asked if I was feeling alright as I looked very pale, to which I gave a bit of a snappy response, but after that I have embraced my pale skin and done everything to try and protect it now. I’d love to have natural tan skin but as I don’t I’m happy to be my natural colour. Yay for pale interesting skin! (and boo to the man who shouted out his car window that I should get a tan!)

  68. Isn’t it awful that for so many years people were made to feel bad because they weren’t pale enough and now society is foolish enough just to reverse the order of things. We can’t we all just BE without feeling pressure to change into something we are not? Why are some people so concerned with what others decide to do (or not do) with their own bodies?

  69. I live in San Diego and never tan even though it is practically a religion here…I too am pale and proud no matter how annoying it is to everyone who smirks at me with my parasol and bottles of sunblock…also even though I have lived here all my life my skin doesn’t look it’s age so I must be on to something with my blatant disregard of the tanning craze that is San Diego! So YAY to staying pale!

  70. This is great! My parents swear I was born tan and I spent a lot of time when I was a kid outside camping but I am not anymore and every time I see my mom or grandma I get the ‘you looked so good with a tan, you need to lay out, etc’.

    They even got my 14 year old sister convinced she HAS to lay out every day this summer so she can get tan.

    I’m fed up with trying to please other people, I’m actually happy how I look, tan or not!

    Anyways, this article was great, think I’ll send it to my mom, grandma, and sister. ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. It’s funny how the opposite is true in Southeast Asia (where I’m from) – pale skin is considered beautiful while dark/tanned skin is ugly. We are constantly barraged with advertisements for skin whitening products, and the less enlightened males actually go as far as to say they’d never date anyone who didn’t have pale skin (never mind that they themselves are pretty tanned). Anyway, good on you for staying pale and proud! You look gorgeous as you are anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  72. I don’t tan at all during summer, no matter if I’m always outside with no sunblock on and stay out for, like EVER. People always comment on my paleness, and it can be aggravating, but I like to think it’s the Irish in me coming out, so I’ve decided to accept that I will never be the ‘perfect’ shade of orange that other people my age want to be. I mean, pale is interesting. Pale is striking. Pale is beautiful. Deal with it, you oompa loompas who want to look like a tangerine. You’re just jealous.

  73. You’re stunning! I think its the opposite with you and me, im constantly being teased by my family for being so brown (my mother is Vietnamese and my father is Chinese and they’re both very pale) They’re always like ‘Don’t you OWN sunscreen? You have to put it on everyday or else your skin wont be pretty and white.’ or ‘Oh wow you got so brown! You should stop spending so much time in the sun, you’re so leathery!’ (grandma…) But I never INTENTIONALLY tan. I just don’t wear sunscreen on a daily basis because i dont spend alot of time in the sun and i dont feel like it. I tan easily and i refuse to be sorry about it. I’ll never be the pretty milky white my parents and cousins and other family members think i should be, i’ll just be pasty and yellow. I look better with a glow, it looks natural for me. I’m not even very dark, im a caramel color (some of my Caucasian friends are darker than me even, but they do volleyball and always forget sunscreen lol)

    Once, my aunt bought me a skin lightener that had hidroquinone in it, thats how obsessed my family is. Making dark skin light can be just as dangerous as forcing pale skin to tan. Never try to force your skin to be something it can never be. Staying out of the sun and using natural skin lighteners like milk, flour, lemon or papaya soaps are fine. Self tanners and powder bronzers are fine. Tanning beds and Hydroquinone are hazardous to your health and do permanent damage to your skin.

    • That’s so interesting to hear that exactly the same kind of pressures also exist in reverse! It’s such a shame, too: to me, putting pressure on someone to change their skin colour, whether by making it darker or making it lighter is just bizarre. So sad that we can’t just be allowed to be natural!

  74. Hooray! Spread the pale love. I’m 18 and ppl just can’t seem to fathom why I don’t want to be tan. My mom also thinks it a bit of a shame I don’t because I “tan so nicely”. I do think I look nice w/ a tan but tans are signs of sun damage. My family has a history of skin cancer and I don’t wanna be so wrinkly from tanning, so I try to keep pale. (and healthy!)

  75. I’m a palie too and in my early 40s – I’ve never had a suntan and guess what – still no wrinkles! Some women my age seem to have the appearance of a scrunched up chamois leather so I am v thankful and a tiny bit smug ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. I get that a lot. I use sunblock, um, religiously and I’m not really an outdoorsy person.

    I also work in a “health and beauty” store type of thing and whenever people ask me for help while choosing a sunscreen they just listen to me for a while, eye me from head to toe, and then take something with an SPF at least 15 lower than what I recommended to them.

    “I have very light skin, and we’re going on a holiday to the Mediterranean, any recommendations for a sun protection product?” – “Well, I personally would take something with an SPF of about 50, but most people usually prefer 30.” – “30? But I won’t get a tan then!” – “That depends on how much time you are going to spend outside in the sun. 30 won’t really stop you from getting a tan, especially where you’re going, it just makes the process somewhat slower.” – “Yeah, I’ll just take this tanning oil (SPF2), you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about; I mean, when’s the last time you saw some sun, huh?”

    And on a slightly different note:
    “How can you be so pale? It’s like 90 degrees outside!” – “Because tan of 90 degrees is undefined.”
    Most people just walk away with a puzzled expression after that.

  77. I’m pale too and honestly I would rather have great skin for years to come rather than to be “trendy” now. So many young women are “tan” obsessed. I don’t think they’re even concerned about skin cancer or realize that their skin might look like leather when they’re older. I get comments about it pretty often too. I’m so happy to read all the comments here from women who feel the same way I do!

  78. My dad just came in and told me my neighbour thinks i need to get out in the sun more because I’m SO pale. He obviously thinks it’s because I’m a recluse that I don’t have a tan, but that’s a lie as I went to France in 28 degree heat (82.4 degrees for fahrenheit users) for a week last month and covered myself in SPF all the time just to avoid the tan. Not a recluse, but someone who likes being their natural skin colour.

  79. Good for you! Health is so much more important than a trend.

    I love tanned tones on people who look good in them – olive and yellow-based complexions look gorgeous with a tan. Pink-based skin tones, like the majority of us white British have, look orange when tanned. Tango, anyone?

    But while I think dark skin is beautiful, I’ll personally never be tanning either, because it doesn’t suit me, because I don’t feel good with a tan, and because I like how my pale skin looks on me.

  80. You are stunningly beautiful. My whole life Ive been made to feel ashamed of my pale skin and red hair, like its some sort of defect. Recently Ive come to realize that beauty, truly is, in the eye of the beholder. For every person who thinks pale “gingers” like us are unattractive there are two people who secretly find it exotic and tantalizing. Plus we will age gracefully while our tanned friends turn into leather sacks ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  81. I am right with you. I hope to begin my blog soon too, and you can certainly witness how pale I am . I am irish. I had those days when I was younger and cringe at the thought that I was baking with baby oil on my skin, only later to find out just how painful it was to take a shower. Never again. I too, like having my red hair and paler skin, as I think it is unique. I agree very much!

  82. I know people that throw a fit over the fact that a person is pale… Like it’s a personal offence for them if you are pale, and they are all ‘Omg cover yourself don’t you dare go out with pale legs even if it’s 35ยฐC outside just get a tan!!!’… Do they actually know some people simply don’t tan and/or don’t care about their opinion?

  83. I needed this today. I’ve been told by my dermotologist I need 15 minutes of sun a day with a light sunblock because I’m the type of person who doesn’t go out at all and need vitamin d quite desperately. People took that to mean she meant I needed a tan because I’m super pale. This is a great reminder that my pale Irish/English skin is exactly lovely as it is and I will always look absolutely gorgeous in black and jewel tones. I think I’ll be book marking this as a reminder for whenever someone makes a comment about how pale I am.
    Fashion and Happy Things

  84. I’m from the north-east of Italy and I am blond and as pale as you are. Though when I was I child I could tanned so much that my skin was really brown, I got my skin burnt some years ago and since then I can’t tan. I have to wear skin protection even if I plan to walk outside for a long time or if I go to a concert. My parents and sister onthe other side become so darkskinned that you might think they come from Marocco!
    And always say I have to tan because I’m too pale… I don’t know what they expect from a natural blond girl…

  85. I am Irish and have pale skin and love it. I think pale skin is gorgeous, especially with freckles. I also have had cancer twice, not skin cancer. Still, my own brother will ask why I don’t “get some sun.” It is pretty much established that sun causes cancer, eye problems, wrinkles and leathery skin. This is not rocket science, it doesn’t take a diploma to understand this. But people refuse to accept it. I must tell you about the greatest compliment I ever received. We were celebrating said brother’s 40th birthday. I am almost 10 years older than him. One of the guests told me that if she didn’t know better, she would have thought that I was the one turning 40 and that my brother was 10 years older. So bro, go wrinkle in the sun, I will stay in the shade, thanks very much.

  86. I don’t wear sunscreen but I don’t go outside that much, either. I tend to tan with a reddish cast at first, It’s not burning because it does go a goldeny colour quite quickly.

    Still, though, really maddening. Because the best I can do is a just-cooked biscuit – a really light golden brown colour – mostly golden.

    People ask me about it andI tell them that I’m a likely carrier for redheadedness, You’d be suprised how often that one works, if you throw in plenty of jargon and exact words.

    I had conversations with subs a lot that were basically either a) nope, not burnt. I just haven’t changed colours yet. Or b)No, really, sir, I don’t need to go home/to the office/you don’t need to call my parents.

  87. Well your skin is absolutely beautiful and I am completely jealous. I have always been more of a darker person. Darkish golden brown hair, amber eyes and usually my skin is medium. If i’m out in the sun a lot I get super tan. If i’m not the whitest I get is like a medium fair. I want skin like yours. It is so beautiful. I use whitening products to make myself lighter lol. Be proud of your skin for sure. It is rare and beautiful.

  88. I only just found this post (there was a click-back or two from a more recent post) but I just had to comment! I’m a naturally dark-haired brunette from a family of redheads, and I’m actually paler than them. I am absolutely incapable of tanning – 10 mins of SPF-free sun and I’ll be burnt, with no “reward” of going brown afterwards – it just peels and turns white again.
    I’ve had abuse shouted at me in the street (people see me, then double back to shout) on account of my paleness, and on my 2nd trip abroad, I was stopped at security in Turkey. All my friends went through no problems, and were gesturing at me “what’s wrong?!”. I, of course, was panicking I’d accidentally committed a crime. Eventually the security man went to get another member of staff who could speak English. Turns out all they wanted to say was “Did you not see the sun? Next time wear more browner”!!!
    I sometimes wish I was a redhead like my mum and brother, as I feel that redheads being pale is perhaps a bit more understandable than people with dark hair. Even those “what make-up suits you?” complexion selector things usually presume that dark hair and super white skin just cannot exist on the same person.
    Sorry, rant over ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the blog as always (this is only blog I read regularly)

  89. As the world’s palest Mediterranean woman, I hear you. I actually wish I COULD tan, but I’m way more interested in not burning and encouraging cancer…

  90. Totally on your side with this! I love being pale, and I hate it when people tell me I either need lighter hair or a tan, I’m naturally pale, my hair is naturally dark, and that is how I like it xx

  91. I wish I could “like” this a hundred times. Growing up in Spain, I was bullied as a kid for my pale skin and dark hair, and even now I still get comments from random people whenever I visit about my paleness, although I can say that more and more of them are actually compliments rather than criticisms. I did try to tan as a teen and it simply didn’t work, so ever since then I’ve embraced my natural skin tone and I can say that I take better care of my skin as a result.

  92. I embrace my pasty pallor too…despite living in the land of the bronzed Aussie. That’s why people are surprised to find out l’m 42.

  93. What on earth is the matter with people??!! For a start you’d end up the same colour as your hair and look very odd (as a faux redhead who tans I have to be careful not to go too tanned if I’m out in the sun for that very reason), never mind the fact that no-one “needs” a tan, never mind the fact that your pale skin is beautiful and won’t tan naturally, need I go on…?! It’s a bit like the baby thing, isn’t it Amber ๐Ÿ˜‰

  94. Hurrah! As a fair-skinned blonde (half Spanish) I had all those comments from my Spanish family and friends for years, long before more awareness kicked in. The idea that some skins were not designed to go dark brown was literally unthinkable. Trust me, it was even worse in the ’70s. I used to watch German and Scandi girls literally fry themselves red.

    Just returned from another holiday and my naturally dark Cypriot mother in law stayed pointedly silent. Nothing to do. Some skins are just genetically darker/lighter. I do admit to hitting the bottle quite a lot, though ๐Ÿ™‚ but by Spanish/mediterranean ‘standards’ my light gold tan is, literally, considered white. They should see me in fricking winter. Is that you in the photos? You look utterly amazing. My sister has the same colouring as you, and she got even more nonsense than I did!!

  95. We call it Portland Porcelain here in rainy, grey Oregon. Though this summer has been unseasonably hot, I also hate wearing sunscreen, so am more likely just to stay in during the heat of the day. I do like fall, as a knitter, I like getting the sweaters out of the cedar chest. Blonde and pale, with 10,000 freckles from a dissolute childhood.

  96. T.H.A.N.K.S. !!!
    Totally what I was looking for, searching randomly “proud of porcelain skin” on Google!

    My grand-mother doesn’t speak English well (we’re french) but I want to send it to her so much!
    I come from Corsica, a french island in the Mediterranean Sea where the national sports is probably the tan race. The first to get tan in spring the better. Because of my complexion I always lost, haha! I remember during middle school I used fake tanners (the creams) to pretend I was tanned because I knew that brought some king of value to who I am to the eyes of others. Otherwise you’re too “northly” (they look down upon the rest of France a little bit). I remember I often said they were racists, haha! I’ve moved to Paris since then, and as it is a huge city (and a northern city), pale skin is just fine. Of course I have some remarks (like ‘You went to Corsica this summer for Holiday? I don’t believe you!”) but the eyes of the other have much less importance, you’re less looked at in big cities. Also I had grown up so I was more confident. Now I kinda look those who do the tan race with a bit of disdain myself (which is not a good thing either, because they should be able to do what they want), thinking “they’re destroying their skin so much”, but also having realised it is not important at all to be tanned if you do not want to. Moreover I get a sunburn almost everytime I go to the beach so suntan’s not even for me anyway. But my grandmother, who stayed in Corsica -where everyone keeps tanning dangerously- keeps telling me EVERY TIME she sees me “You’re so pale! You look sick!” And I’m like ugh. Thank you grandma it’s been a long time.

    Well I was just thinking about that and Googled it and I’m happy with what I found. Thank you!
    Smiling, good sleep and even if you want a little pink cute blush should be enough to make them stop making remarks and think your skin is beautiful! I knew there was a place on the Internet where someone says the Truth about all this story ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for being there!

  97. i needed this today, a few years back i felt the pressure too much from friends saying i would be pretty if only id tan. i only did creams and 1 every 3 weeks tanning salons. i thought i looked older and it didnt look like me. i stopped after 2 years, and told myself this is my natural color and i shouldnt care what people say, everything went good had to switch a few friends who put importance on my skin. but for the rest im happy in my skin, but now my boyfriend keeps reminding me how pale i am. i dont even have pink im a plain porcelain. he saw some pics of when i was tanner( i call it beige haha) and he said he didnt recognize me, like the pretty woman on the picture didnt look like me. i cant get by with strangers comments but that one hurt. but whatever people will say my skin is worth being treated like a queen! thanks

  98. Well for starters, that red headed lady is beautiful. And Iโ€™m not just saying that. She really is. If I saw her walking down the street Iโ€™d go nuts. Milky skin is stunning I find. Sun tans look forced and fake. Makes me think of how vain people must be to spend hours โ€˜burningโ€™ in the sun. I detest the sun and summer. My mind is boggled as to why people sun bathe. A bit like why people spend a fortune to watch a whole season of their favourite football team kick a spherical object around some grass. Totally weird. And the amount of times I have been called; โ€œmiserableโ€ for loving winter and hating summer is insane.

  99. I am here to add credence & living proof to all you you younger gals out there- that you’re doing the right thin !.

    My story-

    I am 49, very pale and live in Texas. I was always the brunt of every single one the jokes and stabs people have already experienced;
    being told I was ‘ugly’ ‘pasty”sick-looking’ ‘tired’. You name it. I guess I have a think pale skin, and took the advice of my mother
    ( on of her few pieces of good advice, btw) She had beautiful, pale, wrinkle-free skin her whole life. She NEVER let me out without
    sunscreen and staying out of the sun was practically a ‘Commandment’ to her. And this was WAY back in the 1970’s,
    before people made a big deal about skin cancer. But I knew she was right.

    I ignored all of it and just smiling & wearing my hats, and using lots of sunscreen, if I went out AT ALL.

    Now, I’m hear to tell you, ignore all those people and I PROMISE you, it will pay off as you age.

    People always think I’m in my early 30’s, and I always meet people almost young enough to be my child, who look OLDER than I do.

    I have no crows feet, no mouth wrinkles ( Don’t smoke !!! ), and just a small indentation on my forehead you can barley see.


  100. Hi I’m Tom from the Czech republic and I’m 17. I agree with all of you guys, but I have to admit that I’m not really pale and it actually sucks. You know when I wear a t-shirt with short sleeves in the summer, I get tanned at some parts of my arms and it looks weird, beacuse the rest of my body is lighter and less yellow/orange. I hate my skin. I wish I was as pale as you guys. Hopefully, one day I will be able to tell my family that I hate tanning (they apparently not, or they don’t think about it), unless I will have to be aware of summer for the rest of my life.
    Be proud of your skin! I wish I was you!

  101. I understand your pain, I have struggled with these comments for years especially because I am a brunette (natural) and people have said to me so many times: ” you’re not a red head or a blonde , you should have a tan! Or girls at the make up counter giving me orangy foundation so I get “more colour” on my face. I hate fake tan they look dreadful and smell so bad I think pale skin women should love their skin, I mean look at Dita von teese and Anne Hathaway they look gorgeous and no tan!
    I love your post, really reassuring to hear that I am not on my own with this ๐Ÿ™‚


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