Embracing the pale
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...
(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.