The Fledgling Journey

Navigating a Good Life One New Experience at a Time

Why I’ll Never Be Tan

Why I'll Never Be Tan

My sister will be vacationing in Mexico this month and I’m  jealous. Every year around January, most people in the Northern Hemisphere are ready for spring, longer days, and plenty any amount of sunshine they can get. The other day I realized I’ve never really taken a beach vacation. All my vacations have involved a lot of sight-seeing with a little relaxation thrown in, but I’ve never been to Hawaii, Mexico, or anywhere sunny and sandy.


I will never be tan. I literally cannot tan. I go from white to red. That’s part of why beach vacations aren’t as appealing, though I haven’t experienced one, so I’m not a fair judge. There are three main reasons I’ll never tan.

1. I Live in Seattle

Enough said.

2. Dyeing My Skin Scares Me

I know spray tans and self-tanners are generally considered safe. I also know that L’Oreal has a reputation for putting some questionable chemicals in their cosmetics. See here, here, and here. The lack of cosmetics regulation is surprising. In fact, the most recent laws regarding cosmetic safety in the United States date back to 1938.  The FDA doesn’t review and isn’t authorized to regulate what goes into cosmetics before they hit the market. Existing law gives decisions about ingredient safety to the cosmetics industry. The FDA can’t require cosmetics companies to conduct safety assessments and can’t even require product recalls. That’s part of the reason I don’t like the idea of temporarily dying my skin to fit conventional standards of beauty. That sounds critical of people who decide to go ahead get an artificial glow and for that I apologize. Most people I know who have gotten an artificial tan look pretty darn good and I’m envious. It just sounds like a lot of work to me. Plus I’m fairly certain I’ll turn orange because I’m Nicole Kidman white. My ancestors were meant to blend in with the snow.

3. I Always Burn

I wear sunscreen on my face everyday. In the summer you can find me reapplying sunscreen mid-day with my Peter Thomas Roth SPF 45 mineral powder. If I’m in direct sunlight, I reapply sunscreen about every 90 minutes. Pure paranoia. When I read that five sunburns increase your risk of deadly skin cancer by 80%, I became hyper-vigilant. Speaking of chemicals, there are some funky chemicals in sunscreen. Run for the hills man, chemicals aren’t avoidable. Feel free to send any natural-ish sunscreen suggestions my direction.

So if you see me this summer with lily-white legs, know that I’m wearing my paleness proudly. Whenever someone points it out I just say “you can’t stay this white without trying.” 🙂


  1. You are right to be weary about fake tan products, I used them for a few years and then once I wanted to be pregnant I started really looking at the ingredients in everything I was using and immediately stopped with the tanning lotion. Who knows what long-term use of those products causes!

    Also, beach vacations are my absolute favorite. There is way more to enjoy than just getting a tan, I promise! 🙂 Most of those locations have some awesome excursions and activities to do off the beach too!

    • At least fake tanning is better than sitting under the sun! Yes, I think I need to go on a beach vacation and give it a fair chance. I need some sun 🙂

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