Why I’m Staying Pale All Summer Long

I recently made the decision to turn my chestnut brunette a few shades darker during my last hair appointment, which proved to be a bigger adjustment than I originally thought. For one, the color made my blue eyes “pop” (hooray!). But then again, it also helped highlight the paleness of my skin. So much that the next day, two of my coworkers asked if I “was a goth” in high school, during a conversation about the cut and color. While my feelings weren’t hurt (as I have a pretty friendly relationship with both of them), I started thinking about whether or not self tanner was in my future.

I decided that it wasn’t. Sure, I just changed my hair color, but why not fully embrace my skin? It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a hermit who stays indoors, nor does it mean that my soul is dark with teen angst. Simply, it’s who I am.

Here are a few amazing reasons as to why us pale girls should celebrate the skin we’re in, and not worry about immediately trying to add a tan to cover it up. (And for the record, every girl should celebrate the skin they’re in!)

1. Pale girls who don’t try to actively tan are less at risk of getting skin cancer.

Let me be honest here. First off, everyone is at risk of getting skin cancer, so always make sure to be careful. Pale girls in general have less pigmentation, so they’re often at a high risk when they’re exposed to the sun, or if they stick themselves in tanning booths.

Obviously sunlight is a great thing, but if you’re pale and trying to the extremes to get a tan, you’ll probably burn or face some pretty bad consequences down the road. Get your Vitamin D in small doses when the sun isn’t so strong, and enjoy summer.

2 Natural skin makes you look younger.

It’s a fact: Healthy skin decreases signs of aging. Yeah, we’re all going to grow old someday—but don’t you want to be the sassy 80-year-old woman who can pass for 60? The more garbage we expose our skin to, the more it’ll show down the road.

3. A bunch of fantastic women in Hollywood are bringing pale back.

There are tons of talented, gorgeous celebrities that prove that pale skin is beautiful. Here’s a short list: Taylor Swift, Winona Ryder, Emma Stone, Gwen Stefani, Alexis Bledel, Christina Hendricks, and our very own Zooey Deschanel. Can you picture Jessica Day with a tan? I can’t. It just wouldn’t seem right.

4. My knowledge of SPF, as well as my own understanding of myself, have improved.

I went on vacation with a friend back in middle school, and—while wearing sunscreen—chose a low SPF to still achieve the tan that I thought would impress all of the boys.

­Instead, I came home with a nasty burn. I was peeling for days, and thankful that I was only at a low-grade lobster color by the time school started. I learned an a lot during that time and have been extremely careful ever since. It wasn’t just a vacation – it was a much needed life lesson.

SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburn. An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays, an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. Re-applying is important, especially if your lotion isn’t waterproof, but it’s also super important to keep tabs on how long you’re outside.

The older you are, the more you’re aware of your skin’s tolerance to sunlight. And once you’re burned by the sun, you’ll keep note for life that sunburns are horrible and negate all of the positive memories of your beach day. You might fear the idea of bringing a beach umbrella and lathering up the sunscreen, but you’ll realize that these tiny decisions will make you much happier during the following week. Which is why staying pale is awesome.

Ladies, we should be happy with our natural skin, and learn how to truly be the healthiest versions of us that we can be. After all, there’s nothing more lovable than self confidence.

Image Credits: Featured, Zooey