Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sunburn: The perils of being pale

I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm so white I'm clear. 

I mean honestly it's not my fault.  I'm half German.  Blame my pale mother and her genetics.

For the record this means I have two official colours. 


And Red.

There is no such thing as tan in my vocabulary. 

Being pasty as I am means that the importance of sun protection was drilled into me at a very young age.  I don't think I've ever left the house after April without at least an SPF 30 on. 

Heck, I wear SPF 15 in my facial moisturizer in the middle of January.  IN CANADA.

It's simply ingrained in my psyche. 

Sun - Sun Screen = Wrinkles, Pain and future Skin Cancer.

For us fair skinned people, Skin Cancer is a legitimate concern.  They say that a person's chance of developing skin cancer DOUBLES if they've had 5 or more sunburns in their lifetime. 

That's pretty scary considering most people (including me) average at least 1 sunburn a year.

I'm dealing with that sunburn as we speak.

Despite wearing SPF 60 this weekend, I spent too many hours in the sun without access to the shade.  My shoulders were the worst impacted but wearing clothes at this point pretty much sucks.

You'd think I would know better by now. 

I've always been a little jealous of people who are able to tan.  I grew up around a lot of people of Italian, Greek and Portuguese descent who tan brilliantly. 

I was always the pale one in the group. 

I've tried it all but even self tanners make me look like an Oompa-Loompa. 

Even exposing myself to small amounts of sun regularly over a long period of time does little more than make me pink.

I've never had an actual TAN in my life.

But as I've gotten older, I've realized this is not a bad thing.

I've got dark hair, blue eyes and skin that requires me to buy make-up in shades called "Porcelain" and "Alabaster".

So being pale works for me. 

Insert a little history lesson:

Since Ancient Egypt, aristocratic women have been going to great lengths to lighten their skin.  Being pale indicated that you were affluent enough to not have to labour outdoors so women used everything from buttermilk baths to lead laced cosmetics to give themselves a ghostly hue. 

They essentially went to great lengths to achieve a look that I come by naturally.

The trend towards pale skin came to an end eventually and slowly went in the opposite direction as tanning beds and UV lamps became very popular.

But people went overboard, and skin cancer started cropping up in teenagers as young as 14 and 15 years old. 

But now being pale is popular again!!!  Even for people who aren't Goth ;)

So if you're pale like me EMBRACE it.  Don't be jealous of people with a golden tan.  Just remember that you'll have less wrinkles when your older and Cheers,


For additional info on Skin Cancer and Sun Protection check out THIS LINK.

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