It was fashion royalty, Coco Chanel, who brought tanning to the mainstream of beauty. During a visit to the French Rivera, Chanel accidentally obtained something that every lady in society feared, the dreaded sunburn. In her day, pale skin was a sign of class and refinement while tan skin was associated with the working class. But as the saying goes “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, Chanel was able to make some serious juice. By the time that she returned from her vacation, Chanel’s skin had faded into a bronzed glow that caused her fans and admirers to do away with their parasols and head to the beach.
Since then the tan trend has continued to grow, and women and men chase the bronzed look whether it be on the shoreline, in a bottle, or in a booth. Today, the tanning industry is over a five billion dollar operation. Tanning can have its benefits beyond just proof of a relaxing spring break, sunlight provides your body with vitamin D and in moderation can prevent medical ailments such as bone pain and muscle weakness. Sunlight is a wonderfully thing and greatly missed, but too much of a good thing can lead to some serious trouble. Tanning has become an obsession for some, giving way to the term “tanorexic.”If someone, like a “tanorexic”, exposes himself or herself to too much sunlight though, they can be exposed to elastosis (breakdown of elastic tissue), sallowness (yellowness), wrinkles and skin cancer. Of course, a healthy glow is always a good look, but with scientific evidence that tanning can accelerate aging and can lead to fatal medical issues, many are reconsidering their tanning bed memberships.
Pale skin is usually associated with sickness and vampires, and a lot of pale girls have heard the phrase “you really need to get a tan” time and time again. Recently though, it seems that pale skin may have the last laugh. Staying true to your pale skin is natural, safe and means you can rock a great red lipstick. Celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Emma Stone, Kirsten Dunst and Scarlett Johansson have embraced their pale skin and have brought it back to the red carpet.
Skin care should be a top priority, and embracing your skin’s natural tone may save you a lot of money at the tanning salon and more importantly at the doctor’s office. Not to say that pale skin does not require a fair amount of maintenance. Fair skin tones easily show redness, irritation and breakouts, so it is necessary that it is kept cleansed and moisturized. Also, a pale girl is nothing without her sunscreen and finding the right SPF can be a challenge in itself. Despite the upkeep, taking care of your skin can result in long term benefits. Practicing simple skin health can prevent wrinkles and discoloration in the future in addition to protecting from melanoma.
Coco Chanel’s tan may have changed the connotation of tan skin, but with the rising concerns with skin health, pale skin is beginning to have its day in the sun.