disliking pale skin

As a result of the tanning trend, many women came to dislike their natural pale skin color. Especially the ones that are on the "beginning of the Spectrum".

The reasons for this are different, but when you ask them, many will say they feel they look "healthier" and better overall with a "sun kissed glow". Most don't even want to overdo it, it has just gotten so common to be a bit more tan than you were born.

Like I mentioned before, - this is a very controversial topic and some people easily get offended. Especially when they tan themselves and don't want to hear any cons. Thats why I will try to carefully explain where I'm coming from in several articels. I'm not a tanning virgin either, been there, done that...gave it up.
Read more here: http://longhairedatheart.blogspot.com/2010/05/tanning-trend-and-lightening-up.html

Skin color, your race...but a fashion trend?

Let me start off by saying that your skin color is related to your ethnic make up, usually called "race*". If your ancestry is Scandinavian for example, you will have a lighter skin tone ranging from porcellain to light beige.
If you are Latin, you will most likey be more tan, and if your roots stem from lower Africa you will have dark brown skin.
That is all good and well, that is just how we were born, "created"...how ever you want to call it.
And there certainly is some people out there that love their natural skin color, but these days, it is more the people that fit into the tanning trend, the ideal color is bronze today.
The other skin colors are not as desired it seems....almost like in beauty or fashion, when certain things are in, and others are out.

But wait a minute...should skin color really be treated like fashion?? Ever??

I have heard of black women that got told (by other black women) their skin color is "too dark", often it seems lighter blacks are considered the "lucky ones". Not a nice thing to do, but so far at least most do not take the drastic step to bleach themselves and rock their skin color anyways.
But what about the whites, that can easily grab a bottle of self tanner or just let the UV rays do their thing?
Yes, they have chosen tanning, rather than defending their own beauty. Sure, if lightening up a hue or two was easier I think more very dark women would give it a try....but it just saddens me to think that anyone would want to change their skin color because they think its ugly.
It is a bit more than just a sweater or even your hair....the skin is an organ, the largest one at that.
(Model above right: Barbara Maier (Germany))

What is even more sad is bad comments on pale or fair skin color. Some are downright insults or even racist. Yes, I DO think it is racist to make bad comments on pale skin tones (or any skin tone for that matter), even if it comes from people who are also naturally light...not other ethnicities. Just think of how stupid that sounds "you were born with an ugly skin color"...
The comment "go get a tan!" is almost as normal as saying "how are you doing?"...noone thinks its a bad thing, but again...think of it the other way - "go bleach yourself a little!"...everyone would flip the fuck out...
Most Europeans, the few light skinned people in the world...are naturally not tan. If you are Irish - Irish are not tan, if you are Dutch - Dutch aren't tan either. There is not many fair skinned people left in this world, and it is sad to see that the ones that are left seem to dislike it.

No tan is still mostly beautiful in Asia

Dan Ji, Kim Tae Hee, Song Hye Kyo (Korea)

Toda Erika (Japan), Becky (Japan), Fan Bing Bing (China)

In Asia, the trend actually goes the other way. Pale is still considered pretty for many (although the trend is changing), but not every Asian woman can be pale simply by trying not to get too much sun (some are naturally light of course), especially southern Asians are tan. Skin bleaching creams and pale make up, have created a just as odd trend. People often want what they don't have...

"Birth Color"

"Mother Nature" planned well when she made you that skin color that you are. Your overall features match it and harmonize with it. The pink of your lips and cheeks is just strong enough for your own skin tone, same with your eyes, brows etc. When you tan yourself you will naturally end up needing more make up, not to look washed out. I know people think tan disguises their under eye circles and spots, but they are only a less noticeable shade for your own eyes, it is still there...I can see it, others can too, just for you it seems to have changed. Looking back at my tanning days, I was not any less blemished looking than with lighter skin...on top of that my lips looked so pale they actually looked less "there", my eyes just did not pop as much as they do with a light complexion, plus...it made me look a bit older, back then not a problem, I was very young, but I don't want that in the future.

Pale, fair, white...what the hell?

"Pale" does not equal fair skin, just to be clear. You can be pale at any skin tone, it is just that mostly fair people are referred to as pale. But no matter what color you are, being at your lightest, your birth color can benefit your looks just like I described it above for fair skinned people.
Speaking of "fair", that really is not a skin tone either, its just common slang to describe very light skin. Skin Tones have not really been put into words yet, they are still just numbers according to science.

Definiton of "Fair"

Etymology: Middle English fager, fair, from Old English fæger; akin to Old High German fagar beautiful

Date: before 12th century

1 : pleasing to the eye or mind especially because of fresh, charming, or flawless quality, clean, pure

So, according to that, anyone can be fair, and fair is just pale...same word. Sadly pale was given a negative reputation, so let me call untannted skin of any color "fair"..
So there is such a thing as a fair lady with naturally darker skin. Latest fashion celebrates the porcellain look for all. I think this picture of Chanel Iman is a nice example of a girl that could be darker and more 'colorful', but she chooses this look. It is clear that her skin is not tanned, a tan just looks different...the skin is more reddish, pigmented, it is almost like someone has turned up the "saturation".
Take a look at tan Victoria Beckham for example, she is by no means very light skinned naturally, but she has tanned herself even darker and it is noticeable she is keeping up a tan.
Self tanners are not the most natural looking option either, you will end up looking uneven, yellowish or orangey. In the end, no matter how you turn it, to the trained eye, it will never look natural. To the untrained eye, something about you will just seem off...

In the End... 

I'm just giving people another view on tan, reveal some things that don't make sense. I don't want to force anyone to stop, and I can't....whoever is truly commited to tanning will not stop because of opinions like mine. But what I do care about are the people that don't even really know why they are doing it, that are maybe even tired of it or giving in to trends and the pressure of society.
I don't think its enough to keep telling people how bad a tan is, and how you are going to age faster and get cancer...that alone does not solve anything. The issue is much deeper, and just like with a child you can not simply just "forbid" things, you need to educate. That allows people to view things differently and they may make different decisions based on this new view.

I want to say that your skin tone is the least thing you should worry about. That is just one more thing to tell us we are not good the way we naturally are, and do we really need that??

* I somewhat dislike terms like race, black, white..etc. they are too general and not accurate, however..I have to use them to some degree so people understand it. It's common language.


  1. This is a very interesting post, Emi, both in a beauty sense and in a social sense. I agree with the statement that one's "birth color" suits him/her best, but tanning is a personal choice, so I won't dwell on it.
    On the other hand, I still can't comprehend that people criticize other people's complexion! I had no idea that happens, and it's downright awful. (I personally haven't experienced any kind of negative comments regarding my complexion... actually, people find it interesting, especially in contrast with my dark hair.) I'm very sorry people said mean things to you... even more so because your natural skin color looks so pretty on you. I'm also glad you are writing about such topics that are often overlooked, yet may cause lots of resentment between people.

  2. I have a very pale, sometimes even colourless face and pale blonde hair and I've often heard things like "you look as if you've come right out of a grave" and "you'd be much more beautiful if you'd use slightly tanned facial cream" and such things, so I can totally relate to your experiences. Thank you for this article, it gives me something to retort in August when I'll be attending a big wedding party and I won't use any make-up or self tanning lotion and expect at least comments from my mother and sister (the other guests will be to polite, I guess).

  3. Ohtawen
    True, tanning is a personal choice and I can't forbid it. But I don't want anyone to ever feel they 'have to' tan, in order to look right...and well, I believe there is some tanners out there that would be happier without them and I wanted to see if I can open their eyes for something new.
    I also don't think a slight tan necessarily looks bad, if its not very appearent its fake I don't even get the chance to think about it really.
    I have certainly gotten comments, but not nearly as much as many of my friends..I think people decide according to the overall look of the person wheather they would make a comment.
    As far as the topics go, I like getting to the roots of certain beauty issues, rather than just fixing the surface if that makes sense ^^.
    So much is just in our heads an does not need fixing per se :)

    The "grave" comment is very common...people like to compare in general ..."ghost, Morticia Adams, white as a wall.."
    From your description it sounds like you have a very rare look, I'm sure it looks wonderful and don't let anyone on the wedding tell you otherwise.
    One thing I noticed, ever since being paler is that - if you rock it, people can easier perceive it as pretty! Often I just seem so convinced about it that people make nice comments..even if they generally prefer to tan ("it suits you")
    IF I get comments, I quickly fight them off by acting like the tanning trend is long a thing of the past, and pale in the new black, add some info about skin againg (90%!!) and people are puzzled and unsure. Some even keep asking questions on sun safety...
    It can be quite funny ;)

  4. Very good topic Emi! I have a strong history of tanning, at least 10 good years of it. I especially loved laying out in the sun for hours to get my tan all summer long. I haven't tried to get a tan for over 2 years now. I am trying to accept my naturally white skin. For as much time and effort it would take to get a tan, it just doesn't last long enough. Also, I am trying to care more about my health. I suppose I used to tan to boost my confidence since so many others were doing it. A tan just isn't worth it for me anymore! :)

  5. Funny, I'm rather dark-skinned for a Russian, and have always wished I were paler... :)

  6. That is Toda Erika, not Emi Suzuki.

  7. Eugenia, but naturally dark is still healthy and just as beautiful as any color can be.

    Anthony, I changed it thanks.

    Candace, that sounds great! I am sure you don't need a tan and look great naturally!

  8. Hello, I am so glad you blogged about this topic. In fact I am barely coming into my own and appreciating my pale skin. My skin story is I am half mexican and half anglo-american, although my mexican family always adored my pale complexion I found that my american side of the family decided I was much too pale, in fact they even made fun at how "light" I was compared to them!!! I used to feel ashamed of my translucent skin but now I have come full circle, I actually want a tattoo on my wrist j\proclaiming my self acceptance with the famous Snow White phrase "fairest of them all" on my wrist, a reminder to accept my skin color and be proud of it.

  9. Hi Evey!

    Your tattoo phrase sounds like one of the best I have ever heard!
    My family is quite similar, my German family always comments on how pale I am, as if I was the lightest it gets ;)
    My son is part mexican btw. (1/4) and the mexican side of the family really does seems to have a liking for anything light. The great grandma wanted him to come out blonde and with light eyes. When he came out dark she was convinced she could see a hint of green in his eyes or his hair looks blonde, when he has purely dark brown eyes and dark brown hair...

  10. Hi, I am honored you replied thank you! Your baby is so beautiful what an interesting mix. I am fascinated with multi-racial people they are so amazing to look at. His grandmother sounds very familiar to the typical behavior of my mother and other relatives on my Mexican side. I have hazel eyes and everyone that is hispanic swears they are green but they are not sigh :). I have fairly dark hair though from my mother almost black, and they always want me to die it lighter or go blond!!!
    I actually have a very dark skinned fiance who is full mexican and am so curios to know how our children would look in the future, if we have children they will be 3/4 Mexican and 1/4 Anglo! Thanks again and I can't wait to see your tattoo!



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