Very fair-skinned - how do I look tanned?

Are you fair-skinned, and want to look tanned?

I'm being slightly disingenuous in answering this request, because my honest belief is, "don't bother".

Fair skin is useful. It allows the body to create vitamin D with much less sunlight than darker-skinned people need.

But of course, fair-skinned people have pale skin. They often also have blue eyes and blonde or red hair.

So, what to do?

My advice? You can spend lots of time in the sun, and suffer premature aging of the skin and a higher risk of skin cancer. You can use sunbeds, with the same risks.

Or you can go the fake tan route, and spend a shed-load of cash and an extraordinary amount of time on your fake tan. Chances are, you will still end up looking orange or just plain weird.

Fair skin is beautiful. Dark skin is beautiful. Each suits the person who has it, it matches her hair, eyes, and body.

Speaking personally

I have very pale skin, fair hair, and blue eyes. My skin freckles. I live with it, it's me, and I intend to spend no time at all trying to fake a different skin tone.

My sisters, brother, parents and son are all very fair as well, and there's nothing wrong with it!

And I reckon I'd just look weird with fair hair, blue eyes, freckles, and a deep tan, whether real or fake.

I'm not at all sure my skin would ever achieve a deep tan anyway, naturally, and orange skin and blonde hair - not a good look.

Love your skin. Keep it clean, and mosturised. Protect it from too much sun, and glory in being yourself.

What to do instead of tanning

The best thing to do for your pale and beautiful skin is to make it as attractive as possible!

Moisturise well, exfoliate to remove the dead cells which can clog up your skin and make it dull, and glory in healthy, lovely skin.

Exercise always helps keep your skin glowing, and drinking enough water to make sure you are properly hydrated is very important.

Getting sun-burned is a bad idea, both short-term (it hurts and peels) and long-term (cancer and premature aging). So sun-cream, and a hat and long-sleeved top in fierce sun, are very important indeed.

Fair-skinned women unite against the tyranny of the tan!

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Comments 64 comments

anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

God bless mom & the baby. A very pretty picture. It's strange ...fair skinned people get themselves tanned and dark skinned people keep trying every possible remedy to look fair. LOL.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

I agree - like curly hair or straight hair, people want the opposite!

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Well in India my mother used to make a preparation of turmeric and flour to apply on the weekends to become "fair". It was funny when I landed in Midwest (in USA) where their were tanning parlors to get dark I almost freaked out when I saw it the first time. You are right we are what we are and there is nothing to be proud of or ashamed of because of our complexion. But I guess it matters more to guys (from India) as they seem to prefer "fair" girls.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

Did your mother's receipe make any difference to your skin colour?

I think people should see the beauty in everyone's skin, from white to black, and all shades in between.

Please don't think I'm saying that fair skin is better than dark - it's not. But for people born with fair skin, it's the best for them.

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

The recipe does help to keep the skin clear and smooth. Turmeric and flour paste has antiseptic/cleaning abilities. Yes I totally agree with you whatever they are born with that is the best complexion for them.

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

Hi London Girl,

Like you, I'm very fair skinned and freckly with reddish blonde hair (going grey now LOL!) I live on the coast near Brighton, and have spend many a summer's day on the beach covered in factor 50 sunscreen and sitting under a sunshade whilst my friends marinaded themselves in olive oil!

Two summers ago I was in Southern Ireland sitting on Brittas Bay just south of Dublin, and for the first time in my life I felt at home on a beach. All around me were blondes and redheads and people with freckles and people going red and peeling. It fully confirmed my suspicion that there's a big whack of Celt in my gene pool!

Elena. profile image

Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

Hiya LondonGirl!  Those eyes ought to be worth some money, both the kiddo's and yours! Laugh!  You're both very pretty, as is your skin! 

That first sentence, with "don't bother" sold me the rest of the hub, well done!  :-)

AngelWings75 profile image

AngelWings75 8 years ago from Kentucky

Thank you so much for your comment...and you know,,,you are right...I should be happy with how I am. It's funny...I look at you and I see that you are beautiful...but I look at me, and I dont see it! I guess we are self critical sometimes. I need to learn to love me the way God created me I guess. Instead of always trying to be what I think is 'better' looking. Thank you and GOd bless!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

I think I'll leave the tumeric paste anyway, sounds a bit harsh on the skin?

Amanda - try beaches in Wales. Lots of Celts (like my freckly Dad) especially up north, you'd love it! Alternatively, come to the beach with my family, we can all share the factor million + bottle.... And don't believe the things people say about fairness being recessive in genetic terms, my other half is dark eyed, dark haired, and our son isn't exactly the same as him (-:

Elena - glad you enjoyed my hub! My general thought is that women spend far too much time trying to alter their perfectly lovely skin / hair / bodies, and could find much better and more fun things to do instead.

Angel - enjoy yourself. Stay healthy, fit and happy, and you will always be gorgeous.

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years before the modern creams came about and it is not at all harsh on the skin. The paste is primarily of Indian flour and a dash of turmeric. Here are the benefits of Turmeric:

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

that was fascinating, thanks! I've only ever used it to cook with before.

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 8 years ago from Massachusetts

LondonGirl, I agree that it's always best for people to find ways to make the most of their natural coloring. Fair-skinned people need to watch out more for skin cancer, so that's one reason to keep an eye on sun exposure.

Another, though, is that it's just better to make the most of whatever coloring (and whatever else) is naturally our own. Up until I was 19 (hmmm, eh-hmty, years ago), I would lay out in the sun, trying to get that great tan of the much admired "California Girl" look back then. I never had freckles, but when I was 19 I got a tan so bad I got giant, freckle-like blotches across my shoulders. I was horrified and regretful, and vowed never to try to tan again.

Your picture shows that you're apparently of the age to still have a small child. My "porcelain-doll" "baby" just turned 24 the other day. When I have my "porcelain" girl, I realized I needed to help her realize that she should play up her creamy complexion, rather than try to be something she just isn't ever going to be. She's beautiful, and has grown up to be someone who knows exactly how to be her "most beautiful, real self".

I like to think that all my efforts and talk helped her know how to make the most of her natural self; and I so often wish so many other young women how much better if feels to be able to do that.

A final "maternal" comment: I don't mean to sound too immodest, but after making sure I paid attention to sun exposure throughout all my adult years, I'm now glad I did, because I know other people my age who have skin that looks a whole lot older than mine does right now.

If someone can find a fake tanning product that gives them the look they want, I suppose that's great for the person who, for some reason, thinks a tan is a great thing. I just think no tan (that lasts for only so long anyway) is worth looking 40 when you're 25 or spending the whole second half of your life looking older than you need to.

My comment was not intened to turn into a "lecture", but there's way too much "not-being-happy-with-what-they-are" that goes on with a lot of young (and older) women; so I couldn't resist. :)

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

I'm 31, and the eldest of 4 milk-pale children. My mother and father (also very fair) were mad about sun cream, and even in the early 80s, we wore hats and T-shirts on the beach, factor gazillion cream, all the rest of it. My mother followed her own lectures, and like you, her skin is far younger than her birth certificate would have you think (-:

efeglo profile image

efeglo 8 years ago from Nigeria

Is that you and and your angles? i love children a lot and can take very good care of them if you will invite me. Very nice and kind of you for all your comments, God bless you.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

Yes, my son. He is looked after already by his nanny.

Lgali profile image

Lgali 8 years ago

nice hub with nice pictures

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

diana1000 profile image

diana1000 8 years ago from Philippines

Hi London girl.

All you say about fair and dark is so true. I was very fair and went through agony to get tanned much red skin and many blisters.

My mother used to beg and plead with me not to go tanning telling me "yes you will look beautiful now but wait until you are older" as teenagers mothers knew zero or so we thought.

Now in my 60's I look at my skin and I look at my mother's in her 90's and yes she has the younger looking skin.

Unfortunately when we grew up there was no such thing as factors to apply but actually I doubt whether my mother would have got it into my head to apply it !

Please all you with fair skin reading London Girls hub take note and stay out of the sun pleeeeeeeeeeease.

Thank you for the article wish we had had hubs in my day of growing up maybe I would have listened.

Take Care Di

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

thanks for reading and commenting! I agree, your mother never knows anything when you are 16 (-:

Sarah Songing profile image

Sarah Songing 8 years ago

I enjoyed your hub, Londongirl! I actually have dark hair and green eyes, but still very fair skin. After a few years of wishing I could tan easier and trying different tanning products, I finally accepted that my skin is what is- pale, and I should love it that way.

Personally, I would love society to get back to earlier days when it was fashioanble to be fair. (This was actually because those who had money didn't work outside and thus didn't tan. So to be pale meant you had money.) But today, with all the knowledge we have about how damaging the sun is, you would think tans- especially fake ones- would fall out of fashion. ...Oh well!

I guess Oil of Olay is right, "Love the skin you're in!"

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

I agree, if we have fair skin, we should enjoy it!

writer83 profile image

writer83 8 years ago from Cyber Space

I too have fair skin , and believe that the sun simply is not for us ! Its better to avoid the sin than to end up looking like a lobster and then to peel like an orange after your 1 week of red skin lol.

Love the piccys :)

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London Author

Thank you! I agree, the lobster-look isn't a good one.

elqalatawy profile image

elqalatawy 7 years ago from Egypt

Nice hub, nice photos, and nice hubber!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

How very kind! Thank you for reading.

compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 7 years ago from London UK

I like pale skin! I think its very attractive just as much as tanned!

Also lol at the first comment which is pretty true!!!

Your babys soo cutee!!:)

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

He looks like an angel.

Looks can be very deceptive.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco

Funny - centuries ago, it was good to be pale, when only laborers were dark from working outside. Nowadays, it's good to be dark, when only the wealthy can afford to spend weeks tanning under the sun in the Caribbean or Riviera.

I suppose the beauty standard has always been dictated by what lifestyle the wealthy enjoy.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Yup, it's all about conspicuous consumption.

vilims profile image

vilims 7 years ago

All products are use for skins, nice post for suggestion for maintain our skin.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

thanks - sun damage to the skin is something very easily avoided

Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

I wear long sleeves and shorts to the beach -it saves gallons of suntan lotion in Australia - which aren't terribly effective on fair skin when the UV index is at 13 (out of 10 I think!) My mother died of skin cancer at 70 so I am absolutely paranoid about it as I have her fair sikin/colour too. At least here now they won't let kids play outside at school unless they have hats with them. Sometimes you see parents let their kids play on the beach with no suntan lotion and very few cloths - its tantamount to child abuse as far as I am concerned.

I am also the queen of fake tan as I ballroom dance and its compulsory for competitions - its horrible and smells - and doesn't come off easily - but its a lot safer than a sun bed! Nice hub

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I agree, in hot sun, playing outside without hats on is just daft of the parents.

We always wore hats on the beach as children, and t-shirts as well, even in England. Unless we were wearing jumpers, that is (-:

My mother won a photo competition in the 1980s with a picture of me on a beach, making a sand castle, wearing a swimming costume and a cardigan!

Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

LOL I do recall it hitting 30C once in London - but I agree cardies rule!

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Really well said.I agree not to tan, aswhite skin can be beautiful the way it is.I have had some hilarious results with fake tan haha.On one occasion I was so patchy i hid for days.Mind you I have come across some good fake tan products too

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I'm not sure even the good ones are worth the trouble, though!

mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

I'm light skinned as well and only wish that as a youngster I had understood the need to protect my skin. Ah well, as I age I'll just have to deal with the damage. Take care of what you have and make the most of it!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I agree - hope you didn't get too badly burned by the sun!

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I can understand how it is to be fair skinned and burn easily. I had a couple of bad burns when I was younger. Like the old Woody Allen joke "I don't tan, I stroke"

For color I use a tinted moisturizer and I don't go out without sunscreen of 20 or more.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Ouch - not heard the Allen line before!

My mother reckons she takes half the summer to go from blue to white, though.

mandybeau profile image

mandybeau 7 years ago

My mother had the English rose skin, why anyone thinks a tan looks healthy is beyond me.

besides the sun is the most aging component.

Spray tans just look fake, they are more orange/yellow than tan, whilst they have improved they leave the tell tale marks that scream, Hey I've just been air brushed.

My own skin is Olive, from my Latin heritage, and frankly, I have always tried to stay as pale as possible.

Why can't we be happy with the skin colour and hair colour we have.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

couldn't agree more - I've never dyed my hair either (apart from a pink spray-on streak for fun when I was a teenager) and think that should also stay its natural colour! Healthy, shiny, natural-coloured hair is a lot more attractive, to my mind.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

My sisters are fair skinned and have redish brown hair.  I on the other hand have olive skin, black hair, and do tan easily because I like to walk a lot, but I do not tan on purpose.  There was a point when I was getting way too tan from walking out in the desert, and one time I went into a doctor's office to turn some papers in for my sister.  The receptionist could hardly believe we were related, and I had to assure her that we were. 

My younger sister purposely applies spray tans and I just do not know why.  Honestly I do not tan on purpose, it just happens, but I do not think my sister should strive for that look.  My youngest sister loves being pale and it looks great on her.  Many actresses such as Anne Hathaway and Cynthia Nixon look great and are on the fair side too, so I am not sure why the majority of celebrities go for the fake tanning sprays.  Be yourself, not a liquid spray :).

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I agree - and the sheer effort it takes to turn oneself orange is extraordinary!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California

I loved this hub...and I am sending the link to my daughter! She will love it even more, being she is a fair skinned red head who burns very easily.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

HI - glad you enjoyed it, and hope your (wonderfully fair-skinned) daughter does as well!

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

LondonGirl you write your stories with such finesse. I have tried a fake tan more than once, and more than once I have hid my legs for days, with streaks running up them like railway tracks LMAO

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

thanks! You decided to avoid the "you've been tango-ed" look as well, then?

priya 7 years ago

hi i want to look fair give me some advice i realy fedup..

Angie 7 years ago

My 18 year old daughter inherited my skin color (very pale) with her dad's dark, dark brown (almost black) hair, with bright blue eyes. She is very unique looking. A boy at school told her, "Hey Leslee, two words for you...tanning bed!" She responded, "Two words back at cancer." She accepts who she is, wears her SPF 50 while in the sun, and does not bother to try to tan. Oh, we could only be that wise.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Your daughter sounds very sensible, and very attractive! My whole family acts like vampires around the sun, we may not tan, but we never get burned.

Miss Belgravia profile image

Miss Belgravia 7 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

As a redhead with pale skin, living in Texas, I have suffered terrible sunburns and the constant comments about how pale I am. That may be one reason I love London so much -- I fit right in, and no one seems to think I should have a tan. Great advice to accept yourself as you are -- a lesson I wish we could all learn at an early age.

chebellissimavita 6 years ago

I would just like to thank everyone for their comments. I am American, but my father is half British and half German, and he so graciously passed his whiteness on to me. When I was young, I tanned really well; now, I'm sun resistant. I don't even really burn that easily, but I'm EXTREMELY white. I have very light strawberry-blonde hair and blue eyes.

I found this posting as I had entered a google search for "tanning for fair-skinned people." Kind of ironic, don't you think? Anyway, it's great to know that there are some people out there who have the courage to embrace their white skin. I've tried, but I haven't gotten over the years of being made fun of, or just the ignorant comments by friends and strangers on how white I am, and that it might be a sore subject.

I am working on trying to gain the confidence, however, and am grateful for your frankness on the matter. Why not just embrace it? I have always supposed that everyone thought fair skin was ugly and unwanted, simply because it's been the bane of my existence (and going to college with tan peers doesn't help that at all). But, thank you for showing me that there are those who consider what I have beautiful. I'll try to keep this in mind as I dare to venture outside with a skirt and no nylons! I get told all the time that I look like Cate Blanchett, both face and skin, so it can't be that bad, right?

Thanks for the confidence boost!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 6 years ago from London Author

It's not bad at all! I have very pale skin, and I've decided it's far less grief to be proud of it, rather than look like a prune in middle-age (-:

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

I have medium colored skin, but in the summer I tend to tan from just walking. Being part Syrian and Native Americans leads to this, but I do wear a hat and sunblock to protect my face. I love the Southern California heat, but have never purposely gone to the beach to develop a tan or anything. I tan naturally, and since this is my pigment I cannot help it. My sisters, on the other hand, are extremely fair and do not do well with sun. They actually prefer to stay inside most of the time. I am a pedestrian though and love this lifestyle, so walking is a must for me. I just say wear a high SPF and wear a hat.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 6 years ago from London Author

Sounds good to me - I don't tan naturally (-:

Maria Cole 6 years ago

You can try tanning beds but start off with only a couple minutes in the bed and of course use proper lotion.

ToddlerMother profile image

ToddlerMother 6 years ago

great hub! My husband has fair skin - he's been working outside and still doesn't look tan - so I think that you are beautiful just the way God made you.

Great hub. I'm following you now. Would love for you to follow me back, if you would like:)

Girish1000 profile image

Girish1000 6 years ago from India

Love your skin. Keep it clean, and mosturised. Protect it from too much sun, and glory in being yourself.

Beth Ho profile image

Beth Ho 6 years ago from Australia

Hi LondonGirl, Fusion (the brand behind LipFusion and Lip Venom) do a great bronzing powder that looks very natural on fair skin. I think its called Luminous.

mary 5 years ago

hi i am 20.i look dark(like medium white).all my family members and relatives look very fair and they all call me as "blacky".it hurts me alot and i am feeling very could anyone please help me in become white.please help me.please....

Bananers 5 years ago

Wear long sleeves in the i dont think so :/

Makayla 5 years ago

I am very fair skin, blue eyes, and blond hair and I have a friend who has brown hair, dark skin, and brown eyes. I have always noticed in the summer, when we spend time together and get the same amout of sun, I always burn, and she always tans! I don't get it! It's very hard for me to get a natural glow in the summer!!

Johnk978 2 years ago

I got what you intend, appreciate it for posting .Woh I am lucky to find this website through google. I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out. by Steven Wright. akeddfdakkbc

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