the tanning trend and lightening up

This is a very controversial topic, believe it or not. Although saying "your natural skin color is beautiful" would be a nice thing, "tanners" can still get offended and try to defend something they need and love.
Sometimes I think maybe it is too early too talk about this, better luck in 10 years. But I can't help but wanting to say certain things about skin color, the tanning craze and all the pros and cons.

I will try to break this up into many different posts, each one focusing on a different part of the whole topic, slowly building up towards what I want to bring across.
And this one is simply some well meant article about trends, body image, combined with some knowledge and experiences.

History of Tanning

We know that far back in the day, the noble lords and ladies avoided the Sun mostly. Peasants had to spend their time outside on the fields a lot, and their skin carried the signs, being pale was not only youthful, it was a sign of wealth. Tanning was mostly avoided until after WW2, but when the war was over, being tan became a sign of wealth and health, simply because in most parts of the world it was the more wealthy that could afford traveling and vacationing to achieve that all over bikini tan (not the farmers tan, that was frowned upon ;)

But the years after, it was simply a summery thing to do and was rarely overdone.
With the tanning bed becoming more advanced however and the self tanner being introduced, a whole new trend started. Being tan was now not only a thing of the summer, it was a must. Celebs like Christina Aguilera promoted the trend. Living in Germany at that time, I remember many girls liking the fact that they had the option of looking less like 'themselves', I guess for many it was at first just a new and exiting thing to try, like a new hair cut. But some simply liked the fact that they could look a bit more exotic, and a little less pale German (dyeing hair darker is just a popular as bleaching hair in Northern Europe).

My own history

Little by little, people started getting used to it. It was always a good thing to be the one that tans easily and never burns, but now people wanted to be like that more than ever. Formerly pale friends declared to me that their skin simply is like that, darker than average. And I honestly think they were not completely lieing about that. Some seemed to have forgotten how light they can get, because they kept up the tan.
That of course altered the perception of skin color and anyone that was not at least 'beige', was now declared unbelievably pale. I was one of the 'darker girls' in Elementary school, I'm a brunette, my mother is a tan mediterranean type (Spaniard/ southern french heritage). But by the time I started going to college I was suddenly referred to as "unbelievably pale", and it was considered 'ugly'.

I was never a fan of baking.... normal outdoor activities, like my time spent on the horseranch do not get me tan really, the German Sun was simply too weak for me. So unless I was vacationing in Southern Europe, I made use of a bottle of self tanner, for the face and the body.
I never overdid it, and sometimes people still told me I was pale (!!), but I was always slightly tan year round. Over time it just became me, I got used to it. People were sort of expecting it too because of the way I looked -dark brows, dark hair (then even dyed a bit darker) and not really a german face to begin with.

Years passed and the trend was still strong, meeting my American (now Ex) husband I also met another thing - racial controversy. My  Ex husband (Puerto Rican) told me he had never been with a "white woman""white woman"..., almost sounds like something 'tribal' I thought. Now living among (Military) Americans, I got to experience the diversion of the races/cultures that is going on in multicultural America. When someone called me a "pale cracker" or "blankita" or simply told me to get a tan, it occured to me for the first time that this is a really sensitive issue. It would not be okay for me to go around and insult someone about their skin color and then say "go bleach yourself" or something, so why is it okay the other way??

Summer 2000 this is me in tan after 2 weeks of Italy

That was around 2005, a time in which I was more mainstream than normally because of my environment, I also increased my tan a bit, before I only evened out the lighter and darker parts (arms are always dark, legs light etc.), but now I went for whole body applications. Of course I did not give up things I truely liked, but I simply tested out looking more mainstream because everyone around me was doing it, and also because I thought my husband might like it. After all, he was the one that had been with Latinas only before. I even tried the tanning Salon a few times, my skin color was uneven, the farmers tan I had mentioned, and I wanted to get even. I did not like it, the whole place smelled like burned skin and I did not really feel like I looked any better after, just different.
My husband then got deployed to Iraq, and I dropped everything I had done to alter my looks just like that, hair dye, fake tan, fake nails, tight jeans and low cut tops...etc., I was not doing it for me, I realized that then.
I was also studying Science at that time, and over hair biology I came across skin biology and took part in interesting courses and seminars, even experiments about skin health, and also sun safety. Know knowing how tanning can really damage the skin I felt uncomfortable.

Lightening up

During the deployment I did not spend any time with anything Military or US related, neighbours in Military housing noticed the changes, also me getting paler every month, same with my German coworkers, but I did not care, this is what I really look like and I'm tired trying to look like something I'm not.
I admitted to my husband all the fake things I used to do, and that I had stopped. I was a little afraid of his reaction, but to my surprise he liked it and said that he never understood why I did all these things.

left: 2002, sun tan + self tanner + eyeliner, right: 2009, just me

Ever since I am "cured" I would say. I view the whole tanning thing from a distant view point now. Been there, done that, but I decided it just does not make sense. The natural skin color is not something that should be changed...I mean, how did people ever get the idea that something is wrong with ones natural skin color?

And that leads us to the next part...


  1. It is strange how dark-skin women like to lighten their skin colour and the same goes the other way. I am an Egyptian with fair skin and I am just happy with it. A lot of girls envy me for my fair skin, and they try hard to achieve lighter colour with the aid of creams and lotions. Why can't everybody accept their natural skin? God created everyone of us in the best shape that can ever be. Yes you can work on dark spots and make them lighter because it was altered from the first place but why try changing what God knew it would be best for you? stop the damage and dryness you get from staying out in the sun and prevent skin disease from developing. This way you could keep your skin healthy for longer.
    Keep your fair skin which is beautiful and ignore what people say. Same goes with your beautiful long hair, you just do whatever feels right. People will never stop talking...

    Thank you for coming up with such a sensitive topic, and sharing your thoughts with everyone.

  2. Hi Simple,
    I'm glad you like it. You are right saying that everyones natural color is best. In the blog post above I have adressed that issue too that some darker women dislike their dark skin, which is not right also.
    In Asia bleaching cream is common, in the past many women did overdo it...which created an arkward white mask face. I know many oriental countries promote light over dark as well, like you said...I believe Egypt and North Afrika in general follow this trend too.
    Maybe I will write about skin bleaching in the future too, the dangers...lightening dark spots is okay, its just that yo should never go further than your naturally lightest (skin tone you had as a young child)
    I think as far as tanning goes - many people don't think long term, they may think "I will look okay at 40", but how are you going to look at 60? 70?

  3. Weird, for me you don't even look so pale/fair. But I'm from Scandinavia, so here's much more paler people, some like "egg-white". :D

    Your post was interesting, I'd been thinking the same subject by myself. Some of my friends tanned themselves here, before they travelled to Asia. There some girls were admiring the pale Scandinavian skin, and my friends got their lesson. It's sad how people go among "skin trends", whether it is überlight or überdark. Unless in poor countries or Africa there might not be any choice. :(

  4. i absolutley love this channel,i agree with everything you have written.all the hair and skin info is so interesting.i would like to request your skin care,what do you use your skin is porcelian its so clear.i also ordered some camilla your channel!

  5. hi again emi,my name is tina my husbands name is james so when that name shows up on my comments i didnt want you thinking it was some crazy just what our google account is under.thanks.

  6. yes, changing color of skin is not a wrong thing. it can able to bring changes in our life also. will you tel me how long tanning be helpful.

    1. Hello Amy!
      I think you may have misunderstood what the topic is about? I was saying that a natural skin color is beautiful and that people don't need to go tanning. ;)
      I'm also not understanding your question. Maybe you could rephrase?

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34 year old mom of 2 boys from Frankfurt Germany


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