Is Pale the New Tan?

beautiful woman with long hair

Tan, bronzed skin has cycled in and out of fashion for decades, even centuries.  Originally, pale skin was considered the most beautiful and a sign of wealth, since only those affluent enough to stay indoors could achieve skin untouched by the sun.  As times changed, tanned skin became fashionable.  Sun-kissed skin was an indicator a person could afford to fly to exotic tropical locales for a tan.   In the 1970s, people slathered themselves in baby oil and sought to achieve a beach-bronzed glow.  Slowly, as we’ve come to understand more about the sun and its damaging effects on the skin, this trend is reversing.

Hollywood stars like Emma Stone and Nicole Kidman have been embracing their fair skin on the red carpet.  Emma Stone even refused to have a spay tan before the Oscars this year, choosing instead to stand out among the bronzed starlets with her clear, pale skin as she accepted her best actress statuette. Tans are increasingly becoming less a sign of health and wealth and more an indication of skin damage.   While sunless tanners have come a long way from the orange streaky skin many people remember, sunscreens have also become more elegant.  With numerous formulations, from powders to creams to gels, and SPF being incorporated in everything from makeup to clothing, protecting skin from the sun is easier and more accessible than ever.  Healthy, clear skin is hard to fake.  Those people who have protected their skin from the sun and avoided the harmful effects of UV radiation and photoaging, are choosing to embrace their fair skin.

Healthy skin is beautiful skin.  Whether a person chooses to embrace their fair skin or opts for a sunless tanner, it will be interesting to see how this trend develops.  This leaves us to question the response to “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

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