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girl, interrupted

January 2012

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girl, interrupted

Embracing the pale

I received a number of compliments about my skin after my wedding makeup post. I'm so touched! The compliments came alongside a number of people positively BEGGING me to stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen religiously.

Yep. I'm already there, believe me. I may be a fire sign, and I like sunny days as much as many of you, but I burn like no one else I know - and thus, I do everything I can to stay pale. Not because I'm a vampire-wannabe or anything, but because there really doesn't seem to be a healthy alternative for my skin type. Plus, tans - fake or otherwise - look really stupid on me. I've had so many makeovers at cosmetic counters where the artist put a foundation on me that made my face noticeably darker than my neck*, especially in sunlight. And then added lots of bronzer, which looks painfully fake and grubby on my skin unless it's used almost invisibly or solely as a contour color (which it hardly ever is).

I'm pink-undertoned and effing pale. When the sun hits my face, MY FACE DOESN'T TURN CARAMEL, BROWN OR GOLD. IT TURNS RED. RED, I TELL YOU! As for the rest of me, my arms will get a little darker (and more freckly) in the summer no matter how much sunscreen I wear, but the rest of me stays pale. And that's OK with me. I never "lie out," instead opting for shade whenever possible, and I bring a huge white hat and a fat bottle of sunscreen to the beach. I make every effort to stay out of direct sunlight if I'm not lotioned to the nines. My spouse (an Arizona native with very different skin**) makes fun of me - I really am obnoxious about it - but guess who usually ends up with the sunburn?

I hate sunburns (duh). I had one on my chest a few years ago and it was painful and gross. I swear it took over a year for the color to even out again. Amusingly, that's the only way I end up "tan:" I burn, and peel, and THEN I'm brown. Unevenly. It's not worth it. I'd be screwed in the desert island scenario, wouldn't I?

Plus, I already have really dry, parched skin that is prone to flakiness. YEAR-ROUND (though especially in the winter). Tanning, and certainly burning, would NOT help unless I want to age myself really, really fast. I think some people can pull off the deliberately-tan look (although few people can pull off that orange fake-n-bake look), but on many of us, it's just plain aging. Although I suppose at least the fake tan is healthier, so if you're desperate to look like Michael Kors...

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(He's hardly the most egregious example of celeb faux-tanning but I just watched a few Project Runway re-runs last night and all I can see when he's on camera is his ORANGE SKIN AUGH!)

Well. Now that the weather is getting cooler and my limbs are pretty much fully covered, I get lazy about sunscreen - but it's usually in my facial moisturizers and any foundation I wear, so that tends to do the trick for the infrequent times I'm even in the sun during the day. The sad thing is, I *do* like being in the sun and I miss the opportunity to exercise outdoors once winter rolls in. I should probably take Vitamin D.

So, there's my semi-lecture/justification. Do I have a holy-grail sunscreen? Actually, no... I just grabbed some random tube of SPF45 off the drugstore shelf and used it all last year, with obvious success. (Trips to Arizona and Florida and NO BURNING!) I figure anything is better than nothing, and since I have to put it EVERYWHERE, I'm loathe to overspend. (Although I'm dry and somewhat sensitive, I don't seem be super breakout prone, so even when I use the cheap greasy stuff I'm usually OK. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.) But I'm definitely on the hunt for a good sunscreen that also has significant moisturizing properties for my face. Stay tuned... and in the meantime, I'd be happy to hear the counterpoint to my sunphobia!


* Of course, my face IS naturally darker - and certainly redder - than my neck, but I don't wish to exaggerate that fact. And turning my face orange really doesn't help.

** Ironic and perhaps unfair, considering she's mostly Irish and I'm HALF ITALIAN. Sadly, it seems that my mother's tannable skin genes were lost in the wash.

Comments

Sing it, my pale sister!

I'm all over the SPF 45 sunblock. I use Neutrogena's Age Shield. It promises not to have oil, and since I *am* prone to breakouts, I use it almost exclusively. It's ridiculous how much money I spend on sunblock in a year.

In other news, that picture of Michael Kors reminded me of the Margaret Cho line about Michael Kors: "He looks like a really bitchy orange."

True dat. Ha!
"A bitchy orange" hahahahahaha! PWND.

I'll have to check out your Neutrogena rec! (Wouldn't it be nice if it really DID shield you from aging? LULZ.) Sunblock is worth the money you're spending on it, promise. You have that glorious fair freckled redhead skin, too, which is probably even more sun-sensitive than mine!
True. People with red hair and blue eyes are supposed to be the most sun-sensitive out there.

Good thing my red is from a bottle. HOWEVER, red hair does run in the family, and my mom has skin cancer, so I figure I'm about as sensitive as almost anyone out there.
Yep. You totes have the redhead complexion.

I'm terrified of skin cancer, mostly for Laurie's sake. She's spent a LOT of time in the sun over the course of her life.
I am basically a pale frecklebomb, but I really love being out in the sun and going to the pool etc during the summer. My solution is usually not going out until later in the afternoon (peak sunburn/sun damage hours being 10am-3pm) and I have never once gotten even a little burned this way, and since I don't stay out for all that long anyway, I get gradually and naturally a little bit tan without trying and without frying myself. If I have to go out earlier than that I go pretty bananas with the sunscreen, haha. I know someone will probably lecture me about needing to wear sunscreen all the time and be like OMFG YOU WILL GET SKIN CANCER/GET WRINKLES/DIE but honestly I am beyond thrilled with my system and have thus far, as previously stated, not burned myself even once, haha. I don't purposely try to tan, EVER, I have never been to a tanning bed nor will I ever, but I do enjoy getting a bit of a natural tan just from being outside on a regular basis, haha.
Heh, good to hear from the other side! YES, staying out of the sun during peak hours is really smart.

I don't think that ANY AND ALL sun exposure is bad... we do seem to need it for certain vitamins and just general emotional well-being. But yeah, at high noon? Count me out.
are Benefit cosmetics worth the price??
Some are! It depends what you want. I'm not a fan of their foundations - they make a couple that are supposed to be suitable for all skin tones but I'm skeptical. Check out the reviews on MakeupAlley.com!
i came across your journal and it's awesome! just wanted to let you know i'm adding you :)
Thanks! :) Heh, I need to write more often...

(Anonymous)

Fantastic Blog

Saw a link to this post over at Delicious. Thanks for sharing it.