Skin Colour is Not a Fashion Statement (And no, we won’t “get a tan…”)

Amber writes…

“Get a tan!” “She’s too pale!” “Urgh, she really needs some sun!”

These are all comments I’ve read recently on various fashion and celebrity websites – and sometimes right here on The Fashion Police. They probably sound pretty familiar to anyone with pale skin who’s ever been on vacation and returned home to a slew of comments along the lines of, “You don’t have much of a tan!”, always uttered in a vaguely accusing manner, as if the pale-skinned person has somehow failed to live up to some agreed standard of skin colour.

As a pale skinned person myself (I’m more pale blue than I am white: my natural skin colour is similar to Nicola Roberts’ in the image above), these comments never fail to depress me. I don’t tan. Ever. I would no more lie out in the sun without SPF70 than I’d throw myself in the fire. This is not a fashion statement: it’s just plain common sense for someone who burns easily, and who’s in a high-risk group for skin cancer because of it. I will not risk my health for the sake of fashion, and I don’t believe anyone else should, either.

The thing is, I don’t think anyone would argue that a sun tan is worth risking skin cancer for. On our post about Rumer Willis last week, though, for instance, I noticed a couple of comments about Rumer’s skin being “too white”, and those comments surprised me a little because as far as I can see, while she obviously has pale skin, that’s her natural colour.

When did it become OK to criticise people for their natural skin colour, or to suggest that they should cover up, because that colour is somehow too unattractive to be on show? Imagine the outcry there would be if a photo of Beyonce, say, was greeted with comments of “She’s too dark.” And what do the people who criticise pale skin want us to do, anyway? Lie in the sun and risk our health? Grab a bottle of fake tan and turn ourselves orange?

Just to be clear, I’m not against people tanning if they want to, or, indeed using self tanner. In fact, I’ve hit the bottle myself on occasion (the bottle of gradual tanner, I mean. Not the wine bottle. Although that too, sometimes) and will probably do it again if I feel like it. It’s the idea of it being a requirement that bothers me. This idea that if you’re pale skinned, you MUST try to change it, or that a pale-skinned woman cannot possibly be considered beautiful or stylish. (The women pictured at the top of the page would all beg to differ.)

As far as I’m concerned, skin colour is not a fashion statement, and never should be. No one should be made to feel ashamed of their natural skin colour, be it black, white, or any of the many, many shades in between. No one should feel like they have to change their skin colour in order to wear certain clothes or feel “fashionable”. Comments like “she needs to get a tan!” should have no place in an enlightened society.

What’s your take on this one? Can pale people wear shorts? Or do you agree that when it comes to fashion, skin colour shouldn’t be a factor?



  • July 11, 2011


    Too pale for shorts? I honestly can’t understand that! I’m a bit like you – not as pale, but definitely a celt in that I burn but don’t tan so am covered in at least SPF50 as soon as the sun peeps out. I’ve had things shouted at me in the street and, a bit like the comments on Rumer Willis, they’ve centered on my legs being pale. FFS, that’s just my skin! I don’t think it’s EVER acceptable, and like you very rightly pointed out, the people that do it probably wouldn’t criticise Beyonce for being “too dark” or whatever. I just find it so sad that there are still so many people who think it’s their right to tell other people that their bodies are in any way wrong. It sucks.

  • July 11, 2011


    I’m pale and proud of it. People call me ice queen for my dark hair and pale skin, but I can’t feel bothered. I choose not to tan, because I don’t want to put my health at risk and I actually not even like the process of tanning. I don’t understand why people are so concerned about what other people should look like…

  • Agreed, I’m pale and Spanish which means that everyone around me is not only tanned, they are almost the colour of chocolate and because of that I should not show off my legs… people here even wear tights to hide their pale pins just before the summer season when the temperature would make my legs feel like tightly packed warm sausages!
    I have been bullied at school for it, I have been yelled at in the street by strangers telling me I look like milk…I don’t care, I hate sunbathing, I’m not going to turn orange à la Katie Price, and I certainly not going to risk skin cancer to please the crowds. I love my pale skin, my boyfriend loves it too, so it’s staying milky white. :)

    • July 13, 2011


      AH! I feel your pain, pale and Portuguese. I love my skin the way it is but I do get a lot of comments about it, everyone from strangers to family…it can be really upsetting and unnecessary.

    • October 1, 2011


      I too, like Jessie at fashion limbo am Latina(both my parents are from Cuba and I’m proud to be milk-white. Growing up (especially in a middle school, filled with inner-city,”ghetto” types I would get teased/sniggered at and insulted in Spanish,until I’d get fed up and fire back some sort of expletive riddled reply in FLUENT Spanish and they’d be silenced for ignorantly assuming I was a “white” girl. But since I was never interested in the “ghetto-fab, wanna-be hoodrat style” I was often considered a “race traitor” growing up. I am proud of my heritage and fully emabrace it, but I’m also proud that I inherited my mother’s milky youthful, complection and dark hair. And I hope to age as well as she has(she’s 61 and passes for mid-40s!) I just wish I would’ve gotten her stunning olive green eyes!

  • July 11, 2011


    I love my pale, translucent at times skin. I love my freckles. I love my bizarre greenish-hazel eyes with eth blue ring and the amber star in the centre… Because these are all part of my genetic make up. They tell me who I am, where I came from, who my ancesters were. Suggesting I should change them for fashion is just plain stupid.

    BUT, whilst I agree that “too pale for shorts” is the daftest thing I’ve heard since the latest Beckham’s middle name, I do think what we wear should relate to our natural colouring. “Too pale for orange”, for example, makes perfect sense to me – I look awful in orange thanks to my pale skin. “Too pale for canary yellow” works too. “Too pale for purple lipstick” – unless I want to look like the walking dead. There are definitely some trends that should be avoided by certain skin tones.

    • July 11, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      That’s a really good point, and one of the reasons I think the issue is quite a complex one. I’m perfectly happy to be pale, too, but as I said in the post, I’ve used fake tanner in the past, purely because I think my legs sometimes look better with a bit of colour, and I do agree that you have to know which colours suit you!

    • September 21, 2011

      Ella Mode

      Yes, I threw out yellow (not literally) because it washes me out. And swore off the bags. Recently, there’s been so much beautiful yellow that I’m just dying! But I did find that great yellows look great on our FEET! Woot.

      I don’t know about orange yet. What Not to Wear has told us that it looks good on everyone. I am not sure yet; I don’t really even try it on much! I don’t know if it’s me; perhaps, though, it’s that it’s supposed to be the most flamboyant color.

  • July 11, 2011


    I am also in the club of skin so pale it’s practically translucent, and it seems really difficult for most people to understand that I don’t actually give a toss. It’s like it’s totally impossible for their brains to process that someone doesn’t want a tan and simply can’t be bothered about it at all. And even if I wanted a tan? Can’t get it! I have never, ever in my life had a tan of any sorts, and currently sporting the worst sun-burn of my life I actually wouldn’t mind if I never had to show my skin to the sun again.

  • July 11, 2011


    I’m very white myself and burn really easily so I never leave the house in the summer without applying a SPF 30 body lotion and a SPF +50 cream on my face.
    The truth is most people I know and most of my co-workers like to have a tan. It is commonly believed that people with a tan look more healthy, rather than the white skins that look rather anaemic.
    But I believe that all the people out there who tan excessively are out of their mind. They will face skin problems later on like wrinkles, spots and even skin cancer. Better be white :)

  • July 11, 2011


    THANK YOU, Amber! I find it ridiculous how a tan is now considered mandatory while and pale white skin is considered ugly. I’ve got dark hair and pale skin and I’ve been told I don’t look very tanned when returning from holiday before… I always think, why should I?

    I’m not sure everyone has grasped that it’s not possible to tan “safely” – any skin darkening is a sign of skin damage, and could be carcinogenic. As for fake tan, it can give a nice glow, but it’s a lot of effort, and I can’t be bothered. And that’s OK :)

    • July 11, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      Exactly – the phrase “healthy tan” gives me The Rage!

      • March 30, 2012


        my natuaral skin coulor is a bit darker which means i tan really easily but that doesnt mean i go lay out in the sun and wait for my skin to tan.yes i agree that fake tan is gross and i would never do it but that doesnt mean people who look or are tanned that they mean to get tanned,its just the way they are,.

        • July 25, 2013


          I agree with you that yelling at people for tanning is stupid. It’s more the implication that not tanning is unhealthy that is annoying.

  • July 11, 2011


    Join the club ! I am also very pale.
    I think people link palor to sickness or unhealthiness. As you pointed out, it quite the oposite since tanning is dangerous.

    Milk white skin can be sexy. Look at Dita.

    Being pale is cool. Being dark is cool. Changing your skin color for fashion or what people think definitely is not.

    • July 11, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      Totally… when I had an office job, I could get myself sent home from work just by neglecting to wear blusher. And to be honest, even I would admit that sometimes I can look ill because of it, especially if I haven’t slept well (one downside of translucent skin is that it makes those dark shadows more obvious, unfortunately!) – definitely not going to be getting a suntan to make myself look “healthier” though!

      • July 12, 2011

        Clever Idiot

        Haha try it the other way around! Google something called ‘Fair and Lovely’- it’s a skin whitening cream for people with brown skin! In cultures where it’s normal to be brown skinned (like India/Pakistan etc) people try to bleach their skin to make it white! Being Pakistani, my mother has always nagged at me that I should wear SPF50 suncream all the time (although I’m brown skinned). Strange, huh?

        It’s ironic how we envy you for your glowing white skin, & try to assimilate ourselves to that, yet in the West people try to tan!

        Amber, I think pale skin is absolutely gorgeous- those of us from the East can’t understand why anyone would want a tan lol! But hey, we always want what we don’t have, eh? =P

        • September 21, 2011

          Ella Mode

          Always. It’s why I perm. We’re all so sad, we humans.

        • July 6, 2012


          When I was a teenager, I wanted to be everything I wasn’t. I had curly dark hair, I wanted straight blonde hair. I didn’t color my hair, but I did straighten it. I had very pale skin, I wanted to be tan…so I went tanning. I finally learned to live with my curls. A diagnosis of malignant melanoma forced me to learn to live with my pale skin. I was okay until pantyhose became unfashionable. So now I no longer wear dresses. :( Now that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been seen in nude stockings but not in 90 degree weather. And people do make comments like, “pasty white thighs” etc. When I use a self-tanner, it goes into my pores and I have polka-dots, so I just have “pasty white thighs.” I’d rather have pasty white thighs than cancer. :)

      • September 21, 2011

        Ella Mode

        Oh my gosh, if I haven’t slept then I look kind of a sick pale in the face with minor spotting!

        Even when I oversleep I get horrible dark under-eyes and bags! I didn’t used to, that’s a new thing. OK I don’t know if this is related, but perhaps!

        Definitely get those dark circles. So true.

  • July 11, 2011


    FINALLY! Somebody saying it! That it’s okay to be white.

    At my previous job I had a lady (tanned lady) telling me I should go out in the sun more, her face all folded like I was the ugliest thing she had ever seen.
    Then I tried telling her after all those years I tried getting a tan, I always ended up burned or with a major difference in color on my body.
    She wasn’t satisfied with my explanation nor could she understand how I could just give up.

    I am 21 now and I finally like my skin color. I don’t want to try those tan in a tube because I really don’t want to put the time in it.
    I learned how to put complimentary make up to my face and blush is now my number one beauty secret!
    I’m going to korea and it’s a form of beauty to be really pale in that country. So I salute you!

  • July 11, 2011


    Can pale people wear shorts?

    Of course they can. It’s what I do all the damn time! What else am I supposed to do anyway? Cover my legs until they are tanned? (If somebody could please explain to me how THAT is supposed to work…) Does that mean I’m doomed to sweat in long-legged and long-sleeved clothes while all the others proudly parade their sundresses? No way, people!!!
    I’ve just been to an open-air festival again last week and I’ve actually managed to get slightly beige-toned skin (and freckles) on my forearms and cheeks. That’s about the most “tan” I’m ever going to get. And it made me cringe to see all the other people there displaying varying tones of “grilled-chicken-brown” and “cooked-lobster-red”. It’s not that hard to apply some sunscreen, is it?
    The sad thing is that many people still consider tanned skin “healthy” and paleness means “sick” to them. And as long as advertisements still show us happy athletic tanned people on the beach, that attitude is not going to change… :(

  • July 11, 2011


    I was vaguely irritated at work a few months back when I was wearing a skirt with thick black tights, and my co-worker asked me how I would handle skirts in summer, if I used slightly tanned tights or tanning spray or what else, because clearly I was too pale to pull a skirt off otherwise. I just looked at her funny and told her that I didn’t tan and actually liked my rather pale skin. (It could be paler but my skin doesn’t tan. Ever. Three weeks in Southern Europe only give it a mild shade of bronze)

    There was a time when pale skin was quite fashionable. Trends change, and I see no point in risking my health for it (or spending ages in a tanning device (whatever it’s called) while I might spend my time doing something more fun.

  • July 11, 2011


    I live in Queensland, Australia – the ‘skin cancer capital of the world’. Despite this, it is almost painful to watch the people who still think it healthy to go out a sunbathe for a couple of hours under the Australian sun. Even more shocking is the fact that (as a pale skinned person) I cope criticism for liberally applying sunscreen almost constantly when I’m out in the sun.

    • October 31, 2011


      I understand entirely, being a fellow Aussie who recently re-located to QLD. My skin is naturally very fair, a nod to my Eastern European background, but I have the typical ‘Australian’ dirty blonde hair and green eyes. I’m often told I’d look like ‘a beach babe’ if I just got a tan. People often don’t believe me when I tell that that a) I don’t tan well and b) my eczema is irritated by sun burn/tanning. They seem to think it would be preferable to have any kind of bronzeness, even if it means that my skin is broken out in a dry itchy rash, that to be naturally pale.

      So what if my legs are so pale that I shine like a light bulb under the strong Queensland summer sun. It just makes me more visible and so less likely to be hit by a car when walking or biking down the street, like a natural reflector vest. *shugs*

  • July 11, 2011


    Of course fashion should not be about skin colour. Can you imagine someone commenting on a photo like that of a black celebrity saying she’s too dark? To me it’s no different, I find it disgusting that people find it ok to riducule pale people.

    I am quite pale,(not as pale as you Amber but I think your skin is gorgeous)and people have commented on me not having a tan in the past. I actually tan very easily but choose not to – I just don’t like the look of a tan, and I’d rather have young looking, healthy skin! Hopefully more people will embarce their natural hue like Nicola and Dita x

  • July 11, 2011


    I have darkish skin, I tan easily, but I always wear sunscreen.

    However, even though I tan easily I would never criticize someone else for having paler skin – just as I would never criticize someone for having darker skin.

    In my opinion the beauty of the human race is the variety of colours we all come in. I have dark(ish) skin and am happy with it, my partner meanwhile has white, white skin and his only option in the sun is wear a hat, wear sunblock and cover up – otherwise he goes a rather unhealthy lobster tone. This is fine – I think his colouring is beautiful (not when he gets burnt though, that just looks painful). Just as I think Rumer Willis’s skin is beautiful and indeed the three other ‘pale beauties’ you’ve pictured above – they are all classy, beautiful women who happen to be pale – big deal!

    The only lady you have pictured here who I think looks ridiculous is Jordan/Katie (whatever she’s calling herself these days)- orange is not a natural human skintone and I think it looks cheap. But, having said that, her whole image is cheap…

    Now, a classy lady will work with what nature gave her whether that’s white, brown, black – or all and everything in between.

    • September 21, 2011

      Ella Mode

      Oh, so it WAS a picture of Katie to go with the mention of her (and not just to illustrate bad self-tanner on any old person)? I couldn’t tell; she didn’t have her boobs out!

      Yeah, she’s fake all-the-way.

  • July 11, 2011


    As a pale skinned person, I agree with all of this so much. I’d rather have pale skin than sunbathe so much, that I have bad wrinkles by the time I’m 40. I haven’t got the patience to fake tan either. I find it so laborious, I just don’t bother with it.

  • July 11, 2011


    What I find interesting is that, before the 1920’s, tanning was considered vulgar because it meant you were working class and got it from your job. The whiter your skin, the richer and more delicate you were. I don’t know that I would say we should return to this extreme either, but I think telling someone they have to tan is wrong. An skin color can be fashionable; you just have to wear colors that compliment it (unless you really don’t care, in which case, wear what you want!) Plus, pale people have the advantage of never worrying about tan lines :)

  • July 11, 2011


    Ditto to all of the above! I do have vague memories of tanning when I was a kid running around all summer outside, but always after a vicious sunburn. Now, I am pale and proud.

    To all of your excellent points, I would add the shallow observation that tanning is incredibly boring. Laying in the sun (or a tanning bed) unable to move or read or anything, bores my brains out in five minutes flat. So I confess here to you all that when I see someone with a perfect tan, I think they must be boring and shallow to be able to lay there, doing nothing. Unless you get your tan doing athletics or farming, I can’t imagine talking to you about anything. :-)

    • July 11, 2011


      That’s how I feel about people suggesting I go tanning on vacation! I find it so insanely boring, even in an exotic location, and really? I’ve had people give me the accusing “you’re not very tanned, are you?” when I’ve got back from the Mediterranean, as if it is some how mind-boggling that, rather than lying on a beach all week, I actually went places and did stuff. This was made worse by the fact that both of my parents are darker than me (I inherited from my Scottish/Norwegian grandmother) and other people point to this as proof that I “should” be darker.

      There’s nothing wrong with being naturally tanned (my dad only has to look at the sun and he goes a shade darker), but there is nothing wrong with being porcelain / ivory / alabaster / ghostly either. One would have thought that by the 21st century we’d have moved past berating others for what they were born with.

  • July 11, 2011

    maz aka MallyMon

    Like Rachel, I have lived in Qld, Oz and was shocked by the state of the skin of many older people there. It shocked me so much that I plastered on the sun protection and a sun hat every time I went out. Tanning in the sun or on a sun-bed can be fatal and is just asking for trouble but skin also eventually ends up looking either blotchy with dark brown sunspots or like wrinkly tortoise skin. False tans are okay but I’d rather not bother. People may wish to tell me I have no colour (rude!) but at least I’m still alive. I think…

  • July 11, 2011


    I am not pale, but I entirely agree with this post because in my culture of origin, pale women are considered more beautiful than darker ones. It’s not everyone who thinks the same, but many times, a pale woman would be preferable than a darker one. I’m sure you have heard of the skin products that are supposed to make your skin look fairer. Their advertisements are the most revolting things ever (In it a woman is able to get a job because she’s been using those products). Consequently, I saw many women using them in order to achieve “fairness”. The worse is that those products are not without risks.
    And the reverse also applies. Using tanner and tanning techniques just to be accepted is ridiculous. Unless you want to, and that you’re desire comes from yourself rather than an impulse to fit in because of a complex, trying to adapt yourself to society’s requirements is stupid.

  • July 11, 2011


    I’m black (specifically Jamaican with a slew of other nationalities mixed in) and I’m light-skinned for my ethnicity. When I was younger, I got teased so much because I was lighter than all the other black people around, and even lighter than some Hispanics. I wanted to be darker than I was my entire life. I even tanned really dark one summer while I was at summer camp but I realized that I look like a piece of burnt toast when I tan. I’ve picked up a gradual tan since then but I stay out of the sun for the most part because I prefer it and I never want sunburn or skin cancer.

  • July 11, 2011


    Thank you! While I myself am naturally very pale, I have never really been bothered by it, or about it. I have had to shrug off the various, “You don’t look a shade darker!” comments after a week in Cuba, but it really didn’t bother me. The idea, however, that a woman needs to be tan to be attractive, drives me up the wall. Any woman, regardless of her color, is beautiful, and should not have to change herself to be thought of that way. I roll my eyes every summer when I come across the tanning article that is inevitably there, in every magazine, telling us how to “get that sun-kissed glow!”. I have never had the urge to look like an Oompa Loompa, lobster, or dehydrated fruit in my later years, and thus, have never used any sort of tanning product. We are what we are, and we should be allowed to embrace it, without society berating us with ridiculous stereotypes of beauty.

  • July 11, 2011


    I’m on the opposite end of this spectrum, being naturally tan. On all my visits to China and Taiwan, where pale skin is actually preferred, my sister and I always receive comments from family, or even street vendors (one asked if I was Malaysian, doubting my ethnicity), criticizing how dark we are. Back home in America, it isn’t much of a problem, but comments like these just irk me beyond belief, that I don’t fall in the standard beauty expectations of Asians, where skin whitening creams are used instead of self-tanners.

    • July 12, 2011


      Ugh, I don’t understand that mentality. Whether people choose to be pale/tan/dark or are that way naturally, I don’t understand criticism based on skin color.

  • July 11, 2011

    Melisa P.

    Oh my god, if my mom could understand english I would so totally send her this post. I’m ridiculously pale too, and I hate tanning. Also, when you’re so pale, people don’t understand that you don’t get tanned, you get burned!! It sucks, because I love to wear skirts and dresses on summer and everywhere people look at my legs and ask: You don’t go to the beach, do you? I’m so sick of it. And just like you, I love my pale skin, I love it to death, and I definitely would NEVER get a tan. No way in hell.

    PS: Sorry, I got a bit too excited. This is such a familiar topic for me.

  • […] “Skin Colour Is Not A Fashion Statement“ […]

  • July 11, 2011

    My Invisalign Blog

    I actually think this is a particularly English obsession. I find where I live in Queensland that most people are pretty sun aware and not too bothered about tanning. In fact, when my in laws come over from the UK and get themselves a crazy shade of mahogany all the Australians whisper to me to tell them about skin cancer!
    I am also pale aspirin white, and freckly too. I wear shorts with my white legs and noone here has ever said a thing. When I see UK tabloids though I am always struck by how crazily fake tanned everyone is. So maybe it is just what you are used to.

    • July 15, 2011


      The comment about the British is true. Tanning here is a status thing amongst some people. I’m naturally pale and am not keen on hot weather so I never really tan. My friends at school however were mainly of the opinion that pale equalled not pretty.

      Just as i don’t understand how fashion can deem ‘ethnic bodies’ (whatever that means) “in” one minute and “out” the next, I don’t understand how pale skin can be deemed ugly. It’s my skin. I can’t get rid of it until it becomes acceptable for fashion, nor do I want to rigorously apply layers of tinted moisturising lotion to maintain an orange aura for other people’s approval. It’s a pretty screwed up way of thinking.

    • April 16, 2012


      It’s not just a British problem, it’s all over North America too….I’m not sure about other European countries. Maybe in Australia it isn’t a problem, but it is in quite a bit of the white world.

  • July 12, 2011


    I’m glad to see all the positivity in this post! I am quite pale but tan quite easily, and I hate the way I look tan, so I strive to stay on the paler side. My family hates it, and when I lived at home my mother would take my high-SPF sunblock so I was forced to either use her low-SPF or not use sunblock at all. Even though I don’t live there anymore, they still criticize me for my choice to be pale. I’m glad to see that other people feel that pale can be beautiful too!

    • July 12, 2011


      Oh my God – that sounds awful!

  • July 12, 2011

    Nikki G

    Growing up in the southeastern US, getting a tan in the summer was de rigueur. Many women even tanned year-round, either in tanning beds or out in the sun. Luckily, I stopped my obsession with tanning by the time I hit my early twenties. Now, I make sure to wear sunscreen daily. I don’t want to look like a baseball mitt, and I don’t want skin cancer. If someone doesn’t like my pale skin or my freckles, they can just look the other way. 😀

  • July 12, 2011


    I too have VERY pale skin which does not tan at all. Couple this with my blue eyes and my hair turning grayish-white by the time I was 24 and you get people thinking I’m albino (even though I’m not). I like my skin tone. It sets me a part from all the sheep that think you have to be orange to look healthy.

    Fashion-wise, I tend to dress in richer, cooler colors, like cobalt blue as opposed to baby blue. Warm colors and pastels just make me look corpse-like. Since my skin is super-sensitive to the sun, I tend to wear long-sleeved button tops and long pants year-round (breathable since I live in Texas) with a hat if I’m going outside. It’s just easier to me than having to constantly rub sunscreen all over my body so that I could wear shorts. Plus, I think I look more elegant and professional when wearing the more conservative clothing.

  • July 12, 2011


    “I have to get my legs tanned” was the reason why two silly women (me and a friend) went to a boat trip with NO sunscreen at all. I don’t know who casted a stupidity spell on us, but I got burned pretty bad. And it’s in Holland, after living 16 years in Israel and knowing I MUST have sunscreen on at all times when planning a day-out. Now I noticed I developed a weird bump on my arm.. scared to get checked…but I will, of course.
    Anyway I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s outrageous that people think it’s ok to remark on other’s skin color.

  • July 12, 2011


    As a caramel-colored Black American, I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve always thought it was dumb for people to look like oranges and carrots on purpose (apparently skin cancer is hot?). I would get so annoyed in high school when other girls would stick their arms next to my skin to see if they were “sufficiently tanned”. Love yourselves everybody, no matter what color you are.

  • July 12, 2011

    Clever Idiot

    Haha, try it the other way around! Google something called ‘Fair and Lovely’- it’s a skin whitening cream for people with brown skin! In cultures where it’s normal to be brown skinned (like India/Pakistan etc) people try to bleach their skin to make it white! Being Pakistani, my mother has always nagged at me that I should wear SPF50 suncream all the time (although I’m brown skinned). Strange, huh?

    It’s ironic how we envy you for your glowing white skin, & try to assimilate ourselves to that, yet in the West people try to tan!

    Amber, I think pale skin is absolutely gorgeous- those of us from the East can’t understand why anyone would want a tan lol! But hey, we always want what we don’t have, eh? =P

  • July 12, 2011

    Ginger O'Rama

    Thank you very much for writing this! I’m a pale-blue redhead, and have no issues with wandering around in black in summer, with a large hat. Makes for good striking colour contrasts. Same goes for people of any skin tones, looking their most fabulous in what suits them best: universal human right to be yourself and to be happy.
    But it took me a long time to get to this stage, and like others here, I had family stupidities to fight against. My mother (a Scot, but who is dark and tans) is *still* convinced that it’s a matter of being “soft,” and that all I need to do to become the Barbie-doll she deserves is “toughen myself up.” An excuse for malingering in dark shady corners in summer (usually with a book), when one should be out and about, alternating bouncing around pneumatically with lying very still. And all a deliberate twisted ploy to thwart the Barbie-owning ambitions.
    The result: some sunburn when a kid; one suspicious object removed fifteen years ago; and in between, the teenage rebellion that stuck, of wearing a lot of black and daily sunscreen, and getting into human, civil, and equal rights. So those heinous Barbie fantasies have resulted in some good…

  • July 12, 2011


    I have extremely pale skin that is highlighted by dark hair and I love it (so does my boyfriend). I think that being pale sets me apart from others. There are two types of comments I receive for being so white. Tanned people tend to approach me and suggest that I tan as well, or they make comments about how white I am. However, women who are older than me (usually mothers and grandmothers) compliment me on the even hue and texture of my skin. I am 22 and refuse to tan in order to fit in. Cancer and signs of premature aging are simply not worth it to me. This post delighted me!

  • July 13, 2011


    yes! couldn’t agree with you more! i’m very pale with brown hair and hazel eyes, and i’ve never had a tan in my life. i start wearing sunscreen as soon as spring kicks in, my arms and shoulders have some color from being exposed more often and my face has a lot of small freckles. my legs are so white they can reflect the morning sunlight peeking through the curtains on my ceiling (i noticed that this morning) and guess what… i like it. i do have a bit of a pinkish undertone so i don’t look unhealthy or tired all the time, but i’ve started to like being able to ignore all the voices shouting ‘sun! self tanner!’ at me and getting out in my summer dresses.

  • July 13, 2011


    I used to work at an insurance company where the other women in my department made fun of me for wearing skirts without dark stockings, they called me “Casper.” I get soo annoyed by all the comments, it’s so unnecessarily hurtful.

  • July 13, 2011


    Like the other people commenting here, I am uber pale. Up there with Dita Von Teese and I also have freckles. I have been bullied about my skin tone my whole life, but lately, believe it or not, at the ripe old age of 33 (but looking much younger thanks to diligent sunblock use) I am starting to feel that it’s cool, unique and sometimes even sexy. I’m finally starting to enjoy my own skin a little. When I go to the beach it’s with high SPF, a UPF sun tent, a huge hat and long sleeved tops and yoga pants for when the sun gets too much. I live in New Zealand and our sun is intense! If anyone says anything these days I just roll my eyes and think “Yeah beatch, you are going to be so envious when I look at least ten years younger than you in a few years time.”

  • July 13, 2011


    When I say ‘our sun is intense’ I mean we have a huge gaping hole in the ozone layer over New Zealand – this makes the summer burn-time for me – about 5 mins. You can’t be too careful!

    • July 13, 2011


      Hi Jetaime, another kiwi here – yes, our sunlight is INTENSE, the ozone depletion means that people burn super-duper quickly and badly in NZ. Even our SPFs are adjusted to compensate. I live with four overseasers and none of them were prepared for the difference when they got here.

      This is an excellent article – thank you fashion police! I LOVE the quote: “…as if the pale-skinned person has somehow failed to live up to some agreed standard of skin colour.” It will be wonderful when this finally changes.

  • July 13, 2011


    I think all skin colours are really beautiful… I have a friend that has pale white skin, and it is just part of her. It suits her and she likes it too. Many people tell me that I have very white skin, but it has a yellow tone that I hated for years. Even if I do sunbathe, I still keep a yellowish undertone. But well, I grew up and started to like everything about my body, including my skin tone.

  • July 13, 2011


    this is a good post. i’m half italian and half black, and have a dark tan complexion. to me it’s ironic because society (here in america at least) tells you to be tan but not TOO dark, so often i have been self conscious in my slightly darker skin. my skin color is very ambiguous to the point where random strangers try to guess my race (VERY rude!). i think we all should stop focusing on skin color – or rather, focus on the beauty of it. i love my pale friends, tan friends, dark friends, whatever color. let’s accept the natural and learn to be confident in our own beauty, in whatever we wear.

  • July 14, 2011


    You bring up an amazing point! And honestly, pale or orange, you can wear whatever you want, as long as you have the confidence to wear it. And skin color shouldn’t be considered “in” or “out” especially if its natural and can’t be helped. Granted, I am not a fan of an orange tan, but if that’s what someone else likes then well that’s there thing. The funny thing is, in Asia, it is desired to be extremely pale or white. And even then, I still think it shouldn’t matter!!

    <3 Kelly

    <3 Kelly

  • July 14, 2011


    I love this article. I’m half Mexican, so all of my siblings (aside from one of my brother) tan very easily. They could all go outside for an hour and return with the perfect tan. I can tan, however i consistently have to be in the sun for my tan to stay intact, unlike my easily tanned siblings. Because of this, I’m constantly teased by family members and friends whenever i wear a swimsuit for my “paleness”. I love this article, people shouldn’t be ashamed of their so called “paleness”, embrace it ladies and gentlemen! :)

  • July 14, 2011


    Thank you so much for writing this article! It’s interesting that in our society, to make fun of people with darker skin is perceived to be racial slander, however to make fun of people with lighter skin is completely acceptable. I am fair andI I have dark hair. I was recently on holiday with ten other girls and all of them tanned. On the last day my friend turned to me and said ‘I cannot believe how white you are, seriously!? We’ve been here for a week and you are SO white!’ Which was completely unnecessary and made me feel bad, all for having fair skin! I understand that nowadays a tan resembles a healthy, happy lifestyle but this is a complete stereotype there is no such thing as too pale!

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  • July 14, 2011


    I’m super pale, too, and when I’m not too lazy to, I do use self-tanner on my legs. I think having lightly tanned skin is like wearing a black dress. It’s slimming. When I’ve used self-tanner, I feel like I’ve lost 10lbs on my legs, and I don’t think it’s simply because I’ve been socialized to think that tan is better than pale. I really think it’s a type of optical illusion.

    On the other hand, with the whole popularity of vampires these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if paleness comes back “in”.

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  • July 16, 2011


    What a wonderful post! As naturally tan person (read black) I find it extemely insane that a particular skin color can be in our out. Black models were all the rage for Spring 2011 and Lanvin made a huge statement by closing his show with a bevy of black beauties but I really just wonder when the fashion world will get over itself and start to celebrate a more inclusive type of beauty- no matter the color of your skin

  • July 16, 2011


    I must admit I’m slightly darker at the moment ( I only managed to grab a measly little bottle of spf 30 before nosediving onto the train to Balado) and I absolutely hate it. All the contrast’s washed out of my face – I want my lovely red lips back.

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  • July 16, 2011

    Julia M

    My boss asked me if I wanted to have a lie down the other day because I was looking so pale. I just hadn’t put on any make-up. On a recent night out I was the only person there without fake tan on, and every comment under the photos on Facebook was along the lines of ‘who’s the ghost in the flowery dress?’ which made me quite angry. You wouldn’t make rude comments if someone in the photo was darker than everyone else, so why slag me off if I happen to be very pale?
    Another point is that a lot of people slag me off for slathering on the sun cream when I’m in the park in Glasgow on a sunny day. I want to protect myself even if it is ‘just Scotland’ and I don’t want a healthy tan-because there is no such thing!

  • July 16, 2011

    Julia M

    Another thing I just remembered! When I was getting my make-up done the other week, the MUA started putting on me this foundation that was at least 4 shades too dark for me (no joke) and said ‘don’t worry, this will give you some colour and stop you looking so peely-wally’ and I had to tell her very firmly I didn’t want her to cover up my natural skintone because *she* thought it was too pale. She still kept trying to get me to choose darker shades though, and kept asking if I’d considered sunbeds to ‘make you look a bit healthier, not quite so pasty?’ Safe to say I left pretty sharpish and emailed her supervisor with a complaint when I got home!

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  • July 17, 2011

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  • In all fairness, pale does = sickly. Not always, but when my husband or I look pale it is because we are ill. I look a greenish color if I don’t get sun for awhile. Obviously some people are naturally more pale and that is much better than a glaring, orangey fake tan. Being a bit darker also makes you look slimmer and creates a shadow effect though, hence why lightly tanned legs typically look better than more pale limbs. Everyone cannot pull off pale. I cannot rock my natural (non-tanned) skin tone because there are so many imperfections that become more obvious. But if you can rock it, flaunt it!

  • July 18, 2011


    That’s what members of an oppressed group do in order to make sure that they keep the “right” behaviour/look (to appease men, in this case).

  • July 21, 2011


    Thank you so much for this post! As an individual who needs to re-apply sunscreen every half hour for fear of burning, I am so glad people are finally agreeing that skin colour is not a fashion statement! One too many times I have stepped out in a pair of shorts or a skirt and have been told that my legs are glowing. Or that I am blinding others. Know what? I love it.

    Awesome post

  • July 21, 2011


    I love the add by google about sunless tanner under this article 😛

  • July 28, 2011

    Laura Hueto Puig

    As the proud and happy daughter of a dermatologist, I couldn’t be happier about this post. People just don’t seem to realize how DANGEROUS the sun is. My mother sees patients every day who are most likely going to DIE. And many of them are very young, in their 20s, or in their 30s, or even worse, in their 40s, married and with kids. And they die. So thank you for helping us spread the word out and make people realize that skin colour is not something you can play with unless you do it responsibly (with cosmetics). But I think the best thing would be to just, as you said, not consider it a ‘fashion statement’, to just embrace our colour and not endanger our health in order to change it.

  • August 11, 2011


    Personally I think people with pale white skin should be able to wear what ever they choose. To me I think over the top tans or really unrealistic ones look vile. I have pale skin and I’m so proud of it I think it’s my best feature. Pale skin used to be considered the pinnacle of beauty too bad it’s not like that any more. Anyone else with pale skin have a hard time finding foundation light enough I live in Australia and it’s extremely hard.

  • August 12, 2011


    I think people who pull off the pale look are in my opinion the most beautiful! Nicola roberts would look horrible with a tan. I think she’s gorgeous! And has a great sense of style, she should never get a tan!

  • August 24, 2011


    my skin is pale but during summer i love being tan. however, i don`t use tan beds, self bronzers, spray tan, etc during the winter because i think skin should take a break too.
    healthy skin looks great in all colors, tan or pale and people should focus on hydrating it, using SPF lotion when out in the sun, exercise to minimize cellulite, etc. -that`s what matters.

  • August 29, 2011


    you should make an article about how millions of women in asia are using bottles and bottles of whitening cream to look like the pale ones!
    i must say that it had been hard growing up and being the tannest in the family, and it really made me feel like i was less then pretty. I had skin problems because of the many chemicals and masks that i used to become paler.
    after going to new zealand, i found many people who adored my skin colour, and to them i was beautiful.
    SO, maybe it’s something maddening for the pale people, but people’s obsession with tan has really made raised my self-esteem. :$

  • September 21, 2011

    Ella Mode

    Well, I’m writing a post (-length comment) to your post, heh. I doubt a blogger would mind?

    I think it’s pretty weird that I don’t get this reaction personally. I don’t go on vacation to sunny islands, but I LIVE in Florida (hence why I just visit back up home in Boston for vaca, haha) and I’m IRISH.

    Yeah, I never get that sort of comment to or about (that I know of) me, personally. I guess it’s good, because I could probably snap at such a person, haha.

    Occasionally, I read of them, and I read you pointing this out, too. (And I have to listen to my mom complain about herself, oh well. Sigh.)

    Oddly, I kind of think, to me, pale skin is a fashion statement of mine, but it’s actually more of a health statement and a proud-of-who-I-am & my heritage statement. All good, really.

    It’s even a “so what if a tan might hide my cellulite” (back to proud & content) statement. Ha. Really, I don’t care; I still love my legs in some short shorts or skirts!

    So to sum that up, mm, yep I think pale can be hot.

    But more on to your post details; I think it’s interesting you clarify what color of pale you are. I’m extremely pink. Most people don’t believe in putting pink into concealer and foundation, so to save myself search hassle, I tend to put pale blush over it. I don’t usually like how even some concealer feels on my skin, anyway, so I don’t need to invest in something I don’t go through quickly enough to use up.

    Anyway, I didn’t realize there was a pale blue but now I totally see it. Fascinating.

    Re: SPF; Last week I forgot to bring my hat to the pool (horror!!! naked!!!) so I reapplied sunblock to my forehead every 10 minutes or so. Is this normal? I don’t think so, but I felt just as cool as I do in my vintage (or vintage-esque, I didn’t ask Nana) fabu, wide-brimmed, red hat. (It’s kind of old-lady and I love that.) Thanks to one of my Papas, I don’t even burn easily; but I do hate the thought of “a little color”. (I get some, yes, but not much.) It’s not healthy and it’s not who I am. I’ve curated my look & style over the past 7 years or so, and it does involve my skin, too. My look isn’t JUST fashion, either, it’s a style that speaks of who I AM. I like to rebel against the norm and make quiet statements. It’s not just that I don’t personally enjoy gradual tanner, it’s like you said above about it not being required. So I’ve forbade it personally. (If it’s required by some, let it be forbidden by one.) I personally don’t conform so I can make “political” statements, too.

    Please don’t get depressed over this! Somehow, I don’t know how, I just feel MORE proud and happy with myself reading these things, and when I know I’m not the norm I like it (usually) especially if it’s the rare healthier trait I possess.

    Your beauty is amazing, girl. (And the dog, too. I live for fashion, Bichons and love. Ha.)

    Finally, no, skin color is not a fashion element to be worn. That might mean one could think I endorse skin LIGHTENING. I always endorse NATURAL as a fashion statement, REAL, ONESELF.

    Totally in, always.

  • September 24, 2011

    Used to be ginger

    I’m translucent blue-white. My hair used to be red but as I’ve aged it’s turned brown. I still have trouble wearing shorts/skirts as my legs are so pale in blueish veiny way. I know I should get over it – but 30 years of society conditioning me to feel nothing but shame about how pale my legs are is hard to undo. My arms see the sun more often, they burn easily but it’s manageable. My legs burn SO easily in the sun ( mid twenties on the celcius scale and over) II’m constantly reapplying for fear of appalling sunburn it looks so stupid. I tend to wear trousers to avoid the hassle and to be honest feeling self conscious/shameful. I’m going on holiday soon and I’m going to try and wear dresses – why should I be so damn hot while everyone else wears sundresses? The hassle of reapplying SPF50 all day puts me off, so my legs stay blue and it’s a vicous circle, but I’m going to try! Thanks to others on here for making realise it’s worthing at least giving it a go, and self tanner – well I have dry skin in patches on my legs so that’s not even worth considering! (even if there was a perfect non orange toned tanner!)

  • October 9, 2011


    I’m so pale albinos feel sorry for me so I’m all for the untanned trend to return…white is alright! Having said that, I think women of ethnic origin & Aboriginal women are just beautiful with their exotic colouring & huge brown eyes, but fake tan is filthy! Carrots are supposed to be orange. Pumkin is supposed to be orange. People are not!

  • October 26, 2011


    I ruined my skin : ( The other year my friends and I went to the beach in Delaware and we all got really burnt when we forgot to reapply our sun cream. For them – being naturally more biscuit coloured than my blue/white self – this was not an issue and their skin tones returned to normal in a few weeks. Mine however, did not survive as well. I now have a mottled burn scar on my thigh and the rest of me paled back to a sort of yellow/white which I loathe. I have also had to move up a shade in foundation and still have yet to find one as perfect as the colour I used when I was blue/white.

    It’s only now that I look back of pics of myself pre 2009 that I realise how much I liked my skin tone : (

    [/sad tale]

  • October 31, 2011


    i am black but quite light , i think that by saying to someone “you are too pale, here is a bottle of fake tan” is just as bad as saying to a black person “you are too dark you should do go and bleach your skin”

  • November 26, 2011


    I’m from the southern california area, where tanning is seriously de rigeur for most people. I’m white but not naturally pale, and tanning has never really been a “thing” for me, although I should probably be more careful.

    My best friend, however, is obsessed (she ALWAYS says she’s ‘pale’ – even when she’s practically brown) so we’ll go “tanning” but for me it’s mostly about lazing around in the warm sun and sleeping :)
    It makes me sad, however, that she always feels the need to be darker and never really wears sunscreen.. I know skin problems are probably in her future.

    However I know it does go the other way around. Magazines and advertisements will usually lighten the skin of celebrities of non-white ethnicities…. (l’oreal’s image of Beyonce is a big example… however, she seems to have allegedly bleached her skin now herself or something). I also have a friend who’s black but very light-skinned and gets criticism from other black people for not being “black enough.”

    Such annoying mixed messages!! I think everyone should be happy with the skin color they’re born with!

  • December 14, 2011


    Thanks – I am really impressed at how eloquent and amazing everyone’s comments are on this topic! I never realized how much this issue bothered me until I read this great article and the comments. I also live in Southern California and have pale skin/ dark hair, and I have always had negative comments about my pale skin both from family and random strangers.

    When I was a kid, my mother used to tell me I needed to get some “healthy color,” especially on my face, to look good. I have photos of me at the beach at a very young age, completely lobster red. I remember the multiple painful sunburns I used to get until I got old enough (about high school age) to realize that trying to “tan” was a cruel joke for me and started covering up.

    By then, a lot of damage had already been done to my skin, and now in my 30s I’m already paying the price – multiple suspicious moles have had to be removed as suspected skin cancer, leaving unsightly scars all over my back, chest and arms, and making me more self-conscious than the pale skin ever did.

    I’m more or less at peace with the paleness now and covering up entirely every time I go out in the sun for a day. (A great tip I discovered is to wear sun shirts with “UPF” – sun protection built into the type of the material, so you don’t have to glop on sunscreen on your whole body every time – available at outdoor stores like REI and Columbia Sportswear).

    However, I realized that I’m still not entirely over the ingrained perceived stigma of my paleness, since I’m the maid of honor at my sister’s upcoming wedding and I have been fretting about looking like a ghost in photos next to my tanned sister and the other bridesmaid. Everyone’s comments have helped me to realize that I was just “born this way”, and I should just hold my freckled head up high rather than trying to use fake tanner to become some other color not found in nature.

  • […] The Fashion Police : Skin Color is Not a Not a Fashion Statement […]

  • February 2, 2012


    I have very pale skin also. I have very white legs and I wear shorts all the time. I quite often get told to get a tan but I cant and besides I like being as white as I am.

    I think more people with white legs should show them off more often and eventually it will be considered normal.

    Here is a picture of me in shorts just to give an idea on how white I am .

  • February 15, 2012


    Pale/light/porcelain/white skin is BEAUTIFUL! lol,not the pork raw skin though. When its flawless and clean. dark lipstick is made for light skintones! look at dita von teese,kim kardashian,haifa wehbe,kat von d,megan fox,arab,latinas,iranian,etc when they wear dark lipstick wiwitht ie gorgoeus features! the contrast of the dark lipstick and light skintone is GORGEOUS! Im not a fan of nude lipstick and such on lighter skintones. However, nobody should tell anyone how to do their makeup.In general,I disagree with telling anyone how to wear their foundation,blush/powder/eyelin­eretc. Everyone has their own style. Many light people tend to go light/lighter or mix it with a luminzer to make themselves brighter/radiant/porcelin like. An example would be dita von teese, who stays out the sun to maintain her light skintone and wears light foundation. Others prefer to be dark/darker andsunbathe or use bronzer all over their skintone. Different people have different preferences.

  • April 1, 2012


    Hello. Yeah I am of multiracial background, and I’d say I’m pretty light colored compared to other blacks, biracial, or multiracial people (often called high-yellow or something of the sort. Anyways I’ve also had people tell me that I’m too pale, not directly saying it but making rude comments.

    Kind of funny actually my hair is naturally black and I had it colored a more reddish brown. I guess that people kind of got used to that for a while, and when I dyed it back to black I had a pretty African American girl give me a compliment that turned into an insult. What she said to me was “I love your hair that way” and then said “so Gothic” with a snobby little laugh.

    People are going to have a problem with anyone or anything I think, no matter what just so that they can wine. Also, I will mention that while I was growing up that I’ve never known a single man to find a pale or light skinned woman Unattractive in fact they’ve always seemed to favor them more that I’ve seen. Maybe some people are just rediculously jealous?

  • April 17, 2012


    I am a pale 56-year-old of Northern European extraction who grew up in the Southeastern U.S. as a nerdy girl who hated tanning (hot, boring, and uncomfortable). Now I’m glad I didn’t. People sometimes tell me that I have beautiful skin. It’s ironic that so many Northern Europeans settled in areas of the Americas that experience intense sunlight. One blue-eyed, red-haired friend was sunburned as a kid so many times while working on his family farm that he has to undergo dermatological screening at least once a year. Another olive-skinned friend with Mexican ancestry was embarrassed to wear long sleeves and a hat in the sun, but seeing us do it made him more comfortable about it.

    The older I get, the prouder I am that my fair complexion reveals my ethnic origin and my life-long decision not to tan. I’ve experienced anti-fair comments, too, but I ignore them. Those people just don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Moral of the story: Young ladies (and gents), take care of your skin, no matter what shade it is. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It protects you, so you must protect it, too.

  • May 2, 2012


    Oh my gosh, yes, finally. My mother is always telling me how pale and unhealthy I look and how maybe I should go outside more, because she thinks I look sick and it’s really unpleasant.

    My friends too. One of them told me not to wear red, because it drew attention to the fact that I was pale. Maybe I like my skin? Just because you don’t wear sunscreen and then whine about your peeling skin every summer.

    I like my fair skin (I’m pretty much Chris Colfer white), because it looks good with my dark brown hair and my illogically black eyebrows and my blue eyes. Just like a lot of girls like their tanned skin, because it looks good with their coloring. I don’t understand why I’m supposed to be covering myself in Cheeto Dust and sprawling out on the beach.

  • May 9, 2012


    I can completely relate to this. My own dad criticises me for my paleness. I’ve had people try and pour brown sauce on me on holiday because they thought my fair skin was something to be ridiculed. I received abuse from strangers, had people at work tell me I look awful when I’ve not got much blusher on. I’ve even had an Indian friend say most people wouldn’t be seen dead in public so pale and I need fake tan. Can you imagine if I said she looked gross because she was Indian?! There would be uproar. When I was 14 I was so self conscious I fried my delicate Celtic skin on sunbeds and holidays abroad. Got some lovely sunstroke and sun damage to go with it though which taught me no matter how much abuse I received, it was not worth it. I also fake tanned a lot and still do now and then but the hassle makes it few and far between now. I only still do it sometimes because i dont have the self esteem to deal with all the nastiness. I’m getting better as I get older. Ive put my dad in his place a few times, didn’t go down well but I don’t care. What parent encourages their child who has a skin type that is high risk for cancer to try and tan?? I certainly won’t be doing that to my daughter, hopefully she will follow my lead of daily sunscreen. Yes daily and I live in the uk! I’d love to go to Asia and experience people liking my fair skin….

  • May 10, 2012


    my father was a very white no tan ventian diplomat at large, my mother a darker shade of chinese viet woman, yes, it’s all a atter of culture, I love nude color, call them skin colors if you want
    the trick is how to change your own color incarnation? Impossible without tricky pharm!
    Fashion has at last one good goal, convince pele not to amplify flaws or nature, get on tracks, not too dar shades with pale color skin, not the pale hues if dark skin, or just…don’t bother focus on mental qualities. Post from Singapore where it’s deadly hot and where white skins are very appreciated by chinese women, and men!Roberto

  • August 22, 2012


    I’m pale, in my 50’s, and I’m so glad I had the foresight not to tan when I was younger. Now I see the friends who tanned over the years and how much older their faces look. Some of them continue to tan and think it looks better. I silently disagree.

    There will always be external pressures to look a certain way by most of society. If not about skin tone, something else. I think the trick is detaching from that pressure—don’t own someone else’s reactions, it’s about them, not you— and learning to feel whole and satisfied apart from others. It gets easier the older you get. One of the best things about getting older. :)

    I do appreciate this post, though. Love the beautiful pale skin on stars that wear it with confidence.

  • February 25, 2013


    I wish I read this years ago. Almost all of my life, comments (such as those mentioned above), have been made to me by many other woman and some males. It’s the woman pointing my skin tone out that used to surprise me the most. Wow, what an observation… I need a tan, why didn’t i think of that! Oh yeah…2nd & 3rd degree sun burns my whole life might be the hint that i can’t tan. Wish i could, obviously, but i can’t. Grrr. Feel better now, thanks Kelly. :) p.s. We the pale will be kind enough to refrain from pointing out you’re wrinkled tether ball skin in ten years. XO

  • July 25, 2013

    Pink Princess

    Nobody needs to get a tan!
    If you like to get a tan (light or darker) then get a tan from the sun or the bottle.
    Personally, I never tried the bottle.
    If you don’t like to get a tan (anyhow) then just don’t.
    That’s the spirit if you ask me.
    I am Greek and pale and I like to get a little tan during the summer, still I haven’t sunbath for more than 15 years now since whenever I stay in the sun too long I get an allergy.
    Well, that’s just me of course because my kids are always in-and-out of the sea for a month during the summer and they get a great natural tan and no allergies!
    Never forget to protect yourself under the sun!
    Were a hat, sun-block, sunglasses.
    You don’t want your skin to “strain” for nothing.
    OK, maybe a little tan could “cover” some of that cellulite on our white legs but do not overdo it!
    And this comes from a person who lives in the sunniest country, where you need sunglasses during winter too, so you need to take my advice into some serious consideration.
    Have a great summer!

  • August 27, 2013


    My story is kind of funny. I Was actually a cinnamon color but started suffering from a condition called vitiligo which actually turned my skin pale as an end result. I honestly have always loved pale skin, just think it looks sophisticated. Sunblock has def been my bff ALWAYS since all my life I attended various dermatologist they always emphasized the damage the sun can cause to your skin and how it’s very important to protect it. I definitely don’t see how a persons skin color makes them better or prettier in any way. A tan is not gonna give you a pretty face or a healthier organism hell you could be suffering from multiple diseases but you have a “healthy”tan right?IT’S CALLED IGNORANCE now if your pale with under circles that might give off an ill look but there’s nothing a little concealer can’t fix :) to me just natural skin colors are all beautiful…sunless tanners really don’t grab my attention since they most likely give you a orangey look not attractive in any way….funny how when you go to a black women’s beauty shop they sell all these lightning soaps and creams like really?while some are trying to get dark the others are trying to get light blah blah blah What works for me doesnt necessarily work for you and vise versa. My world and mind is diff than yours(thank God) respect that :)

  • December 14, 2013


    I totally agree with this post!

    I’m from the other side of the aisle; I’m fairly dark. While I do get a tan in the summer, I have never in my life tried. My skin just tans, and since I’m outside a lot, it just happens. *shrug* One thing that annoys me a lot, is every time I go up to someone, the first thing they say is ‘you’re so tan!’. Ummm, so? It’s never been ideal to me. I like how it looks, but since I don’t try, it doesn’t seem like something to be praised. Why can’t everyone just accept unchangeable things and put the focus on being fit and healthy?

    ~Gillian, Young Yankee Lady

  • April 13, 2014


    I have pale skin, and I’m very proud of it. I’m not saying people should not get a tan, but they should not only because someone says ‘tan is beautiful’. as for clothes, people should choose, as far as possible, their skin colour according to what they like and what makes them feel good.