This is not a post to tell you to ditch the St Tropez and for everyone to start sporting the porcelain look. Don’t get me wrong, being tanned is a huge confidence boost and having a natural skin tone that is not pale or white is fab also. But for us pale ones, when in the summer especially, it feels like you shouldn’t show any part of your body if it’s looking a bit white and isn’t tanned, then it can be tricky to be confident embracing pale skin.
If you are as pale as I am, aka. always the palest foundation shade, and if not paler, you will understand why this pressure we seem to have created to have a glowing tan, is quite frankly a struggle at its best. The ‘Kardashian look’ seems to be one that more and more people are striving for and idolising, especially young females. But is this realistic? Is having the goal of perfection, in any aspect of body image, whether it be your teeth, figure, hair, or skin tone, something people feel they have to attempt just because it has become trendy to do so?
Speaking for myself, and being a redhead, it is impossible for me to achieve a natural tan. I burn, I freckle, and I peel, and no matter how long I sit in the sun hoping that these will magically turn into a lovely golden shade, shock horror, it never does.
A question I get asked frequently in the summer is why don’t you fake tan? This is something I have tried, but due to the contrast between fake tan and my actual skin tone being a whole spectrum apart, it requires you to cover every single part of your body for it not to look stupid, and as a result any patches or missed areas look completely ridiculous. Quite frankly, I can’t be bothered.
However, having a tanned body and orange locks may make me resemble a carrot, not a look I tend to go for, so why did I still used to feel it was a bad thing to be pale? And why did I used to worry about changing the natural shade of my skin to one of a darker and more bronzed tone? The answer is, not because I wanted to, but because I felt I should.
Platforms such as Instagram give us the impression that everyone looks as if they’ve been lying on an Australian beach for six months, covered in tanning oil, and that therefore we should be striving towards this look all year round too. But what we forget, is that people on social media are more likely to post pictures of themselves when they are tanned, and on a beach holiday sipping on an exotic cocktail, than if they are pale and are at home doing nothing but the household chores. Additionally, looking at fashion and beauty campaigns, you just have to look at brands doing the current 2018 summer campaigns for makeup, sun cream or clothing, to notice everybody here also looks like they’ve been on that Australian beach along with the people on the explore page of your Instagram feed. This is only one of the few types of aesthetic that is under represented though, I understand there are so many other types of people that are under represented also, whether that be gender, sexuality, race or shape and size, but that could be a whole separate post.
As someone with two fully Scottish parents and a long line of Scottish heritage, I am often told that I couldn’t look any more Celtic if I tried with my pale skin, freckles, blue eyes, and red hair. My heritage and this aesthetic are something I am proud of, why should I or anyone else change this just because society and the media is giving us the impression that we have to look a certain way?
My freckles are not something I should cover up just because other people round me, and people on social media are not necessarily showing them off as much as people are showing their tans off. But additionally, if you like making yourself tanned because it makes you feel good, and healthy and happy, then that is equally as great. But I have learnt that you do not have to make yourself look like anybody else, just because of societal pressure, we are all unique and diversity is something that everybody should be appreciating.
The same goes for any other feature of you as well, whether this be stretch marks, cellulite, veins or anything that we tend to feel self conscious about, because we have been conditioned to think we should hide these things, that not everyone has these too. BUT THEY DO! If they are on a part of your body that you love then why should we feel we have to hide them? It’s great that we are gradually starting to see more of a variety. Seeing current campaigns such as Missguided’s #InYourOwnSkin is incredible, with campaigns like this, we are starting to head in the right direction.
So if you’re a redhead, someone covered in freckles, or someone who wants to embrace their pale skin, or any feature of your body, even just for some of the time, then go for it! But equally as much, if tanning, either naturally or using a fake tan makes you feel even better in your own skin then keep bronzin’. But don’t apologise for looking the way you want to look.
Pale skin is beautiful, dark skin is beautiful, and every shade on the spectrum is as incredible as each other.
Thanks for reading,