As the pastiest skinned person I know (I’m yet to find anyone as pale as me, let alone paler), I rely on fake tan throughout the year to make me look a ‘healthy’ colour. But just how healthy are you if you’re permanently orange??
Well, I’ve decided to take a challenge and go a whole summer without using any fake tanning products. That’s right, a full-time pasty-faced girl for an entire summer. But why? I hear you ask – so here’s my reasoning:
Let’s face it, fake tan looks fake. There’s nothing natural looking about fake tan, especially on a pale skinned person, you can spot it a mile off. The streaks and the grubby knees and elbows are a big giveaway, not to mention the white hands with orange palms. I don’t think any of these features are attractive.
My other big gripe is the smell. We all know the smell and there’s no getting away from it. Some products mask the smell with something more pleasant to lull you into a false sense of security, but once the tan starts to develop, the familiar smell returns.
Then there’s the time you have to invest in exfoliating, moisturising, applying the fake tan and finally waiting for it to dry or soak in before you can get dressed again. I don’t know about you, but I have very little spare time. I have a full time job, go to the gym three or four times a week and I’m also studying part time which takes up my entire weekends and the evenings when I don’t go to the gym. I find it difficult to schedule in a fake tanning session and have to plan them well in advance – and to be honest, I don’t need this added stress.
Although I have many issues with fake tan, I will still find it difficult to go cold turkey. Last weekend we had temperatures around 27 degrees Celsius, so there was no covering up. I braved a skirt and a vest top in public without fake tan for the first time in about 12 years. And actually, it wasn’t that bad. Not one commented about me needing a tan or looking ill, but there’s still time.
So why is there such a big obsession with having a tan? Why is being pale associated with being unattractive? It seems having a tan means you look healthy, but in reality tanned skinned (from the sun or sunbeds) is far from healthy – it goes brown because it’s damaged beyond repair. How can having more wrinkles, premature aging, sun spots and even skin cancer be healthy or even desirable?
When I told my husband my plans to go without fake tan for a summer, his face dropped as if to say ‘I wouldn’t have married you if I’d have known!’ He’s pasty too so I suggested that if he thought I should tan, he should tan too. (I now have his support).
So there you have it – my challenge will be to remain tan free for the foreseeable future. Any girls (or guys) out there want to join me in the pale revolution?
(The title of this article is dedicated to the tanning shop on the Isle of Man ‘TanFastic’ – if anyone from that shop is reading this, I’m over on the island in August, so you might want to book me in, in case I fall off the wagon!)