Life as a Pale Person

Being pale has its downsides. I can get tan, yes, but I refuse to go to a tanning bed, and I insist on wearing 100+ SPF when I spend time in the sun. What can I say? I don’t want skin cancer.



Also, Final Destination 3 scared the crap out of me. Because what if something totally trapped you in a malfunctioning tanning bed and you fried?


But some people are obsessed with being tan, right? A few months ago, while at a girls’ night out, a friend of mine asked if I had bronzer. I laughed and told her that I did, but it’s probably too light to do anything for her, and that I don’t use it to make my skin darker (I use a matte shade for contouring). Overhearing this, an acquaintance (a redhead who frequents the tanning bed — skin cancer waiting to happen) snarled and said “Then why do you even have bronzer?” I’m sorry if you don’t understand what contouring is, or how to use makeup.


People treat it like a disease. Whenever one of my tan friends talks about themselves in a disgusted voice “ugh, I’m so pale!” I can’t help but wonder if they think my skin tone, which is several shades lighter than their version of “pale”, looks gross.


Of course, I’d hope they just don’t give a damn what shade my skin is.


Matching foundation is interesting. Most of the time, I grab the lightest shade of foundation or concealer available. If that’s too dark, they don’t have my shade. I was recently searching for the Kat Von D foundation in my color, and found that the almost-white shade is out of stock online and in store, and is the only shade that is out of stock. I can’t tell if there are that many people out there as pale as me, or if the company just doesn’t think we exist.


I’m more likely to burn than tan. Unless I regularly go outside WITH sunscreen on (as in, every day for an entire summer), I will burn. And that’s never attractive, okay? So stop telling me to lay out and get some sun.


I could easily be a vampire for Halloween. I wouldn’t even need makeup to look white. Just add glitter.


I can’t wear ivory. I don’t think I have to explain this. I also can’t wear tan leggings. Not that anyone should.


People assume that I don’t like being pale. I’m pretty okay with my skin tone. It’s what I’m given, and I’m not looking to drastically change it. If I get a little color naturally, that’s cool. But I don’t mind my white legs, and I have enough scars that I don’t need to add more by getting melanoma removed.

Has anyone ever criticized you for being pale? Do you tan?

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  • Stephanie

    I’m not super pale and I think my blonde hair offsets the pale, like makes it not as noticeable, but yes – still very pale and people comment sometimes. Whatever, I have baby soft skin and no real wrinkles to speak of. So when we’re 60 and look better than those people who tan all the time, we’ll be laughing :)

  • Marta Morales López

    I am also really pale….plus I have black hair so it´s quite a dramatic contrast. And you know what??? I like it…why change something that it´s my natural state? If Dita, if Snowhite can rock it and make it something unique, beautiful and different….I can do it too. I prefer to be different and myself than to be just like everybody else just to fit and forget about explanations or dealing with judgemental opinions. I have to admit there are some days it´s not easy: hairdressers telling me to lighten my hair because it´s too dramatic….or people saying that I look ill because I´m fair….it´s funny when doctor ask me: are you going to faint? And I´m like: no, this is my color XD….I prefer to laugh about it.

  • Alison

    I am also super pale… high five! I’m blonde with blue eyes, so basically, I’m just a sun-disaster waiting to happen. For me, tanning goes like this:

    “I’m tan, I’m tan, I’M ON FIRE.”

    Sometimes, we just go straight to “I’m on fire.” It’s not fun. I’m sure you feel my pain. I honestly love my skin tone, although every time I find a matching foundation, it’s immediately discontinued because clearly, fair people don’t exist. It’s nice to know that there are others out there that struggle with foundation and sunburns!

  • Christina Warren

    lol Hey, in Asia, there multi-billion dollar companies who make products promoting paleness. From skin creams to things you put on your arms while driving so the car sun doesn’t tan you. Many women wear driving gloves too. Bleaching creams are a big deal. My mom offered to have my freckles removed for my birthday (many times). HA! Beauty is so dependent on culture. :) I love all of it. I

  • cheriarmour

    Well, seeing as how I’m Caribbean, no I don’t tan! But I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, as a brown girl, it’s really hard to find foundations or CC of BB Creams that will match. I’ve stuck to either going super expensive for some things, and just the Maybelline BB Cream for regular days. It should be interesting trying to find someone who knows how to do black people’s makeup for my wedding!

  • Rachel

    I am pale as well. I used to tan and I broke out with a rash so I stopped. Now I am just get less pale in the sun. I have accepted my pale ness and freckles and just live it!

  • Natalie Brown

    Hi! I am very pale, have dark brown hair, and light green eyes & I always have people telling me to get some sun. (And I live in Florida – lol ) I think it’ a very American mindset because I follow several UK, Swedish, & Romanian beauty bloggers and they all have those same features and they don’t think it’s weird. It’s actually kind of refreshing to follow the beauty blogs of people that look like me. Thanks for making a good point!

  • Tiffany

    From summers of being a lifeguard, and a summer of a tanning contest in the tanning salon with my guy bff, I am perfectly okay being pale these days. Hell, my dad threatened to have the race changed on my birth certificate. I have freckles, everywhere. The more sun exposure, the more freckles. I’m pale and I know it, nor do I care!

  • helene

    AMEN to this! I am pale but i do apply self tanner (like jergens) occasionally, you’ll never ever catch me in a tanning bed! seriously, skin cancer is NOT worth it!

  • Kate @ Another Clean Slate

    No matter how much I lather on the sunscreen, I still burn Day One of any sun. But then I EVENTUALLY tan. It takes a while.

  • Whitney @ EHFAR

    I’m pale but not too pale. I do tan pretty easily, but I prefer not to! Never been in a tanning bed and never will. People have told me to get some sun or asked if I did drugs. RUDE.

    Sorry, but I don’t want skin cancer or my skin to look like leather. People my age (28) that frequented the tanning bed look almost 20 years older. Not cute. I’ll take my pale skin any day.

  • Elizabeth Smith

    I am so glad I am not the only one who was traumatized by that Final Destination tanning scene. I did tan for a wedding last summer. I got 5 sessions for like 5 minutes each, so it was “base tan” level. But, I’m done tanning now and I won’t be doing it again. You’re right, skin cancer is not worth it. Plus, I couldn’t stop thinking about that movie and checking to make sure it would still open….

  • jackie

    i’m not super pale, but reasonably pale since I refuse to tan as well. I think we all know now how it isn’t good for you so I avoid it. I have started using a self tanner in the summer called ‘fake bake’ (I bought it on amazon). I don’t use a ton of it so I don’t really look tan but it kinda “takes the edge off” of the severe paleness of my legs ha.

  • Amber

    I am pale. I just deal with it. I don’t want to tan. Sometimes I get some color in the summer but then I’m pale again by the fall.

  • Chelsea

    I am an avid sun tan lotion, jeans wearin, stay out of the sun kind of girl. When i wear my shorts i get the normal ” WHOAA get in the sun!!” But what these ignorant sun bathing humans don’t know is that NO TAN IS A GOOD TAN DO YOUR RESEARCH!! Sorry for the rant but the “wow you’re white” comments are so old it’s not funny. So i love my skin, love protecting it and still get annoyed by the stupid comments :)

    • Becca Dorr

      I definitely wear jeans more often than shorts, just because I get tired of people making comments. That and I know I won’t sunburn!

  • Kuro Neko

    100 SPF works just as well as a 50 SPF. Anything above 50 SPF is useless, SPF between 30 and 50 have the best coverage.

    • Becca Dorr

      While I’ve read this before, experience in my outdoor job proved otherwise. 50 SPF = burn and awkward tan lines. 100 SPF = no burn, less awkward tan lines. I don’t know the science behind it; I can only speak from experience, and burns hurt. So I’ll stick to my 100 SPF.

  • Hannah Carlson

    I’m white. I mean, there is a slight pink undertone to my skin, but that’s the only bit of color I get. And my hair is white. No blonde- nothing. It’s straight up white. I look like Denaerys Targaryen from Game Of Thrones lol. I basically look albino. And I get called Elsa all the time (Frozen lol). I burn extremely easy, though, and I am going on spring break to South Padre Island, and unless I want to scorch my skin the first day (like I did for spring break in gulf shores last year) I have to gradually get a base tan at a tanning salon before I go. I absolutely DESPISE tanning beds. But anyway, I don’t want to be tan. I love being pale. It’s so unique and it makes me stand out! It’s like, my trademark among my friends! But I’m so scared of getting even the slightest bit tan, because then my hair wont match my skin tone. I’ll have white hair and either light tan skin or bright red skin if I burn. I don’t know what to do, and I refuse to dye my hair darker. Like I said, I love being white! So what do you think? Would it be okay to have such light hair that is much lighter than my complexion, or should I dye it darker to look more normal? Sorry that I basically wrote a novel here lol!

    • Becca Dorr

      Ooo, I love super pale skin with very light hair — you can pull of some winged eyeliner and dark lipstick like no other.

      Be careful with that “base tan”! I’ve had some friends burn when they thought they were going easy on themselves. I’d recommend a high SPF sunscreen and reapplying every few hours!

      I don’t think that your natural hair color will clash with your skin tone… Even if you get a natural tan, it’ll still look natural!

  • Erica Musyt

    I do not tan. Simply because I cannot! My version of tanning is as follows: burn, pink, peel, white again. i’ll do the fake spray tan, but only for fun about once a year.