Among a crowd of grayed-out people dressed in swimsuits, a pale woman in long-sleeved clothing and a protective umbrella stands proudly, her pale skin bathed in color.

Healthy, Smart, and Oh-so Pale

“I am so freakin' pale.”

“I feel so pasty white and gross.”

“I gotta get some sun. I’m as white as a ghost.”

Why you should embrace pale skin

It’s that time of year again. Someone you know is beginning to obsess about pale skin and making plans to start tanning. They have a million reasons to get a tan but not nearly enough reasons against it. Maybe that someone is you. If you’re looking for your own set of reasons to fight the urge to tan or looking for a list you can hand to a friend, look no further. I am going to give you some of the best reasons to stay pale.

1. Fewer wrinkles

Tanned skin is damaged skin, and damaged skin tends to have more fine lines and wrinkles. It takes some time, but those crows’ feet and frown lines deepen over the years. Once they show up, there’s no turning back. They are unforgiving and relentless.

2. Reduced risk of developing skin cancer

Spending time in the sun unprotected and using tanning beds are both excellent ways to increase your chance of developing skin cancer. Tanned skin is overexposed skin, and overexposed skin is much more apt to serve as a nice base for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or even melanoma.

3. It’s your skin - own it

There exists a fairly clear-cut argument for remaining pale and sidestepping the tanning salon and long afternoons baking by the beach. You were born this way. Your skin may not be naturally dark. That’s fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving the skin you’re in. Why mess with perfection? Learning to love being pale takes time for those of us who fell prey to tanning in the 90s, but it’s not impossible. Take a look in the mirror and give yourself a moment to appreciate the fact that you are healthy, strong, and smart.

4. Someone is watching

Whether you realize it or not, you are an example for someone near you. Your children, nieces and nephews, friends, and co-workers are all aware of the choices you make and your habits - good or bad. When you make the decision to buck the system and stay pale when everyone around you is engaging in tanning talk, you are an example of healthy habits. Be proud of the fact that someone who is watching you may also turn away from the tanning lotion and toward sunscreen.

My journey to pale skin

Pale skin has gotten such a bad rap over the years. The truth remains that there is nothing wrong with shunning the sun. You certainly have everything to gain by steering clear of tanning beds. Using sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure during peak hours of the day, and resisting the urge to fall prey to the tanning hype will benefit you in the end. If you’re like me, a recovering tanning addict, the urge to tan is strong and the choice to stay pale doesn’t always come easy. I have stayed the course with my pale skin for over 12 years now, and it’s never ever a snap decision.

My reasons for staying pale are:

  • My own premature aging helps me turn away from the tanning salon.
  • The scars from three excisions are doing their part as well.
  • It’s my skin. Why change it?
  • I have two children and teach third graders. I would rather them see me pale any day than tan.

What’s your reason for staying pale?

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