I can’t believe I haven’t written a “Things Pale Girls are Sick of Hearing” post yet.

I mean, I’ve done one on the comments redheads get, and one on the things women with long hair hear constantly, but actually, I think being pale is one of the things people find hardest to understand and/or accept: so much so that if you have pale skin, you’re probably sick to death of hearing things like…

11 things you should never say to someone with pale skin: no, we're not sick, we don't need to get a tan, and we really are this pale!01.

“You’re SO pale!”

Just as redheads are constantly informed that their hair is red (You don’t say!), and tall people can’t go anywhere without being told how very tall they are, people with very pale skin are never allowed to forget what colour they are: as if that would even be possible. Strange as it may seem, however, most of us are well aware of the colour of our skin: we’ve had it our entire lives, after all, so, you know, thanks for the newsflash, but you’re not exactly presenting us with brand new information here – sorry!

02.

“Are you ill?”

Or, even worse, “Wow, you look TERRIBLE! You should be at home in bed!” I just have to go easy on the blusher to find myself on the receiving end of comments like this, and if I don’t wear any makeup at all, people will be calling an ambulance before I know it. Because there’s nothing like being told how horrific you look to make you feel good about yourself, huh?

03.

“Can’t you tan AT ALL?”

You know, I probably COULD, if I was willing to risk skin cancer, but I actually think I’ll just keep slathering myself in SPF 110, if it’s all the same to you…

SPF 110 sunscreen

YES, IT’S A THING

04.

“What, never?”

If you’ve ever wanted to truly shock someone to their very core, just try telling them you have no desire whatsoever to get a sun-tan. They’re be talking about it for days…

05.

“Not even if you laid out in the sun all day?”

I’m really struggling to think of an easier way to explain this to you…

06.

“Could you not just use fake tan, then?”

Yes, we could. But as hard as it to wrap your head around the concept, some of us don’t actually WANT to change the colour of our skin. Imagine!

07.

“You’d look better with a tan.”

I’ve actually had people say this to me, and it’s just jaw-droppingly rude: I mean, you’re basically telling me my natural skin colour isn’t acceptable to you, or “good enough” to be seen, and that I should try to change it, just to please you? How on EARTH is that an OK thing to say to someone? Can you even imagine telling someone with naturally dark skin that they should lighten it, because “it would look better”? Nope, didn’t think so…

08.

“Better remember to wear sunscreen!”

I know people mean well with this one, and it would be fine I was, like 6 years old or something. Given that I’m a grown woman, though, it’s just a little patronising to assume I don’t know how to look after my own skin, don’t you think?

09.

“I don’t expect you’d like it there: it’s really sunny!”

Look, we’re just pale: we’re not vampires, OK? We don’t have to avoid the sun completely, and as long as we’re appropriately dressed, and sun-screened-up, we’re perfectly capable of going outdoors when the sun’s out. I promise we won’t disintegrate at the first touch of daylight (and we don’t glitter like Cullens, either, more’s the pity).

10.

Your holiday can’t have been THAT good: where’s your sun tan?!

Because, yes, the sole purpose of travel is to get a sun tan. I feel like such a failure now.

11.

“Look how much darker I am!

(Usually said while grabbing your arm to compare colour.) It’s not that we’re jealous of your superior tanning ability, you understand – it’s that we don’t like being treated like some kind of curiosity or freak: skin colour isn’t a competition, after all, and it’s SUPER weird when people start trying to act like they’ve somehow “beaten” us in a contest we didn’t even know we were taking part in. (And wouldn’t want to, either, for that matter…)

Got pale skin? Got any other strange comments you’d like to add?

96 Comments
  1. I went on a family trip to Thailand as a teenager. I was never spoken to, except when the women I met exclaimed ‘Oh your skin is so white/pale’

    Otherwise the old ‘maybe one day your freckles will join up’ really grinds my gears!

  2. I’ve had complete strangers double back on themselves just so they could shout “get a tan” at me. I’ve been stopped at airport security (on my 2nd ever holiday, so I was pretty nervous) and made to wait while they found someone who spoke some English, just so they could insult my skin. It’s actually impossible for me to tan. I burn in 10 minutes, then it peels and I’m back to whiter than white. I’m the only brunette in my family but I’m paler than my red-headed relations! The last 6 months I’ve been having my hair done orange and I love it. My other half thinks it “makes more sense” with my skintone. I’m hoping when the sun returns (which is the worst time of year for skin-colour abuse, partly because I reflect the sun so I’m more glaringly white then!) I might get less “comments” on my skin as at least people EXPECT red heads to be pale. It is shocking how being rude about someone’s skin being pale is considered acceptable, when it’s outrageous (and illegal) to be rude about darker skin.

    1. Redheads don’t get less comments, unfortunately – I always find it so weird that people think it’s strange that I have pale skin given the colour of my hair, but they’re just astonished by it!

    2. Hey! I am a natural red head and I get comments on it ALLLLL the time. Sadly, some people don’t seem to think before they talk. I got made fun of my whole life for having freckles and pale skin. I tried so many DIY and fake tans because I am so pale. It’s like the beacons of Gondor have been lit when I am in a bathing suit (LOTR reference). But I always tell myself when people say rude and means comments about my paleness, all of the tanners are older they will have leathery skin and you and I will have gorgeous skin because we always protected it! I have really learned to love being pale and freckled. 🙂

      One last thing, if the tan thing still bothers you- I do have one product I use when I want to add a little color. “Jergens Natural Glowing Lotion”. You start applying it and color gradually comes about. It’s ver soft and you can stop using it whenever the color seems right to you. You don’t have to use a lot and just use it a couple days and the color appears! It disappears after a few showers too so it’s very temporary. If you REALLLLY want some color- that’s what I recommend.

  3. My natural skin colour is a lovely hue of lilac… My translucent skin tans to a tinge of yellow if I were to try. I used to always hear “You don’t even look like you’ve been on holiday!” I was really pleased with my Simpsons appearance… Now I don’t even bother I’m too scared of burning!

  4. Hi Amber, my nickname at school was ‘the ghost’ as i was so pale. I had people telling me I look really ill and need to have some vitamin D – but I always reply back by saying that I get plenty enough of vitamin D and I take insipration form Dita Von Teese.

    1. I was once told I “blend into the wall” (which was starkly white) and also asked if I’ve EVER gone out in the sun haha. Some people are super ignorant.

  5. Having missed a patch of skin on my foot while basting myself in suncream on holiday one year and ending up with serious burn that looking back probably required medical treatment I will never ever chance tanning (not that I ever did anyway). I’m normally a mottled blue / purple shade and I have to say I’m really envious of people who have creamy skin instead of the corn beef effect that mine has. I would never consider telling anyone they looked like they’d over did it on the tanning bed / fake tan / skin damage but it never ceases to amaze me how many people feel free to comment my skin colour. It’s almost as many people who tell me I’m very thin and I need to eat more but that is another rant.

  6. Yep, I’ve heard most of those at some point. I don’t tan – I burn and that’s it. I have no desire to tan or use fake tan at all. My sister on the other hand tans really easily, so when we were on holiday as kids it always made me look even paler! I’ve had the “you look ill” one a few times – nope, just super pale!

    Also, you can get SPF 110? I need to get me some of that.

    1. To be honest, I’ve read that anything above SPF 50 or so is a bit of a con, and doesn’t give you any extra protection : I always just buy the highest one I can find, though, and reapply it constantly!

      1. I’m getting my science geek on here. The SPF rating refers to how much longer it will protect your skin, than if you had none on. So if you would normally burn in 10 minutes, SPF50 will protect you for 500 minutes, which is roughly 8 hours. That’s about as much daylight hours as there is in the day, so that’s why anything over SPF50 is a con – you don’t actually need to be protected any longer! You do have to keep reapplying sunscreen though, because sweat or swimming will wash it away. End of geek lesson for the day!

  7. So relatable! Thank goodness I like my pale skin. My housemate told me once she had overheard one of our friends asking his wife, “How is she so white? Does she bleach her skin or something?”. I have a picture of me on the beach with my cousin and her friends. Every inch of their skin is exposed and slathered with coconut oil – meanwhile I’m shrinking under a two towels, a hat and sunglasses!
    Luckily there are plenty of cultures that appreciate a fair complexion. South Korea is my beauty product home; everything is white as it gets, and chokkas with SPF. I’ll say it – I’m a whitey!

  8. I love your skin colour (and I wish I had red hair too)! Actually, the only thing I hate about my very light skin is that I cannot find any foundation or base products that match it. Even Bourjois Healty Mix 51 or Rimmel Match Perfection Light Porcelain are to dark (even for my “darker” summer skin), the only thing I can use are asian BB creams – they suppose to whiten your skin 🙂

    1. I am probably the first guy here, I know I might be a bit lost, but I just found the site for this specific article.
      For the context: I have mega pale skin with lots of freckles and auburn hair.

      When younger I thought that people were only making fun of me. However, now I have some asian friends who simply don’t seem to understand how pale skin works. I don’t mean to be racist at all, it’s just that they aren’t used to this skin type, it’s like something out of their world. This actually has changed my way of viewing this topic.

      I just want to point that people should be tolerant to others, maybe they are actually trying to help (just maybe).
      My question is how is the best way to explain them? Just saying “I can’t tan” doesn’t seem to work well. That is why I searched for this article, I am hoping/suggesting for some text to show these people in a friendly manner to see if they can understand it. Technical/scientific texts do not seem to help much since they are too long and hard to follow for many people.

      Therefore, I thank you for this useful post for future reference, but my suggestion still stands.

      Bonus true story: recently some girl invited me to have some tan, I replied “actually I can’t”. Then she said: “ok, maybe later then.”

      1. Huh, sorry, I posted as a reply instead of common comment, forgive me. The website owner may move the comment above and remove this if she wishes….
        Yes, I am indeed lost here.

  9. Yes yes yes to all of this! But then when I lived in China pale skin was prized! So much so after being there a couple of months and my freckles coming out in the sunshine I was told that my once ‘beautiful pale skin’ was now ruined with all the ugly brown dots.
    ( I should point out that in Chinese culture stating you are ugly/fat etc is not seen as rude, a big cultural difference from our own and takes a while to get used)

    1. Yes!!! I’m a strawberry blonde and I’m married to an asian and he LOVES my pale skin (thankfully)! His family used to own an asian store and I couldn’t believe they sold whitening soap!
      Now our kids have a mix of our skin colors. My side of the family are happy our kids are tan, and his side are happy they are white (and have freckles…and 2 have hazel eyes which they love as well)
      But people comment all the time saying, “aren’t you glad they didn’t get your skin?!!!” or “thank God they got Joe’s skin instead of yours”.

  10. European sunscreen brands have been forbidden to label SPF above 50, because there’s no difference after that. Say SPF30 blocks 70% of UV rays, then SPF50 filters 99.8% (made up numbers, but it’s around that), and SPF110 blocks 99.9% percent, for probably a much larger price difference… Not to mention UV-B have nothing to do with cancer, but outside of Europe there doesn’t seem to be any regulation saying sunscreens need to have a minimum protection against UV-A.

    I hear these things on occasion, but I doubt that it’s to the extent you do :/ I don’t know why it’s so surprising for some people to understand not everyone’s body is the same, and that they in 10 seconds aren’t going to be able to solve something the other person lived with their entire lives. I have a blood circulation problem that means my hands and feet don’t stay warm when it’s cold – basically my body shuts down circulation there instead of increasing it, and the opposite when it’s really hot -, and every time I say I can’t stay outside more than 5min when it’s really cold because my hands freeze, a lot people say “just wear gloves”. OMG mind blowing, that’s so not the first thing that occurred to me, followed by every single layering option there is! Seriously.

  11. I’m super pale, too. If I’m not wearing any makeup at all, even my mum thinks I’m ill… Yes, that’s very annoying…
    But I personally like my skin colour, I think it would be very boring if everyone had the same skin colour.

    xx
    Sandra

  12. What the what? I am not a pale person. I tan easily and can’t help it, really. I would never say ANY OF THESE to someone who was pale. It just seems rude. Besides, there are lots and lots of pale beauties out there who are just fine in their skin. Dita Von Teese anyone?

  13. Every single one of these is the truth. I lived in Italy for 3 years (and no, never got a tan despite daily exposure, sometimes (shock horror) without sunscreen (yeah, I burned)) and people would actually point at me and comment (assuming I was a tourist and didn’t speak the language). I was also a favourite of mosquitoes, so I was kind of white, with massive red blotches all over my arms and legs…people would move away on public transport. 🙁
    Having said that, when visiting India, I was practically a beauty queen (I’m very curvy too!) – men everywhere proposed to me constantly.
    I guess its horses for courses as to whether people consider it attractive or not, but it seems nobody ever gets used to it!
    I’m getting married in the summer – so many of my friends have said I should get a fake tan for it, I am insulted! I don’t want to look like someone else on my big day (besides, it always bloody goes patchy, I gave up years ago), I want to look like me, and love looking like that! My dress is ivory, so at least there will be some contrast! Even if it’s the other way to usual 🙂

  14. Yes to all of these! I’m from Texas and the pressure here to be tanned is relentless. It doesn’t help that my hubby and step-daughter are darker naturally and get really brown in the summer. I’ve learned that trying to get a tan that others would even notice is pointless for me, though, so I agree and applaud your efforts to be happy and content with your natural skintone.

    1. I do occasionally use fake tan when I’m on holiday (and sometimes at home in the summer), but I STILL get comments about how pale I am – I’m actually not sure why I bother with it!

  15. I remember trying on a dress for a friend’s wedding and the sales assistant frowning and pouting (I quite liked it) and the she said ‘well, it will look OK once you’ve got your fake tan on’. Did I buy the dress? Reader, I did not. (& have boycotted the ’boutique’ ever since). Embrace the pale!

  16. I have head just about every one of these comments at some point or other. Apart from my late Granddad I am the palest person in our family by a long way (and non of us are exactly anything other than fair!) so it’s something I’m used to and that I’ve never minded. I’m lucky in that recently I’ve found a few true ultra-fair skin friendly makeup products (primarily by US brand Tarte – who do seem to understand that there is something fairer than alabaster – I’d advise anyone to check them out).
    I am so pale that the year I went blonde the passport office sent back my photo because they couldn’t tell where my face ended and the white background began (I kid you not).
    I, like the rest of you, get fed up of being told I look ill, or pasty, or tired. Of being advised to ‘warm up’ my complexion with bronzer or to give the sunblock a break. I have learned to embrace my palor and to appreciate it’s rarity. To love the fact that I can rock a classic retro makeup look without a thought, that I can dye my hair almost any shade and carry it off, that I can choose strong colours without fear of clashing and wear every nail polish colour (except peach) with aplomb. We pale girls are rare, our skin can’t be faked and we should never have to apologise for not being any shade of golden!

  17. I know how you feel!
    My mom is a tan Mexican and my dad is a redheaded Canadian, I’ve lived in Mexico my whole life.
    I inherited his pale skin and my mom’s dark hair (instant goth).
    I got teased all through my school years and now if I dare to show up at work without makeup, my boss thinks he is overworking me or that I’m sick.
    I never get tan and it is so difficult for me to get any makeup pale enough or sunscreen with high enough SPF here in México.
    People never believe me when I tell them I’m Mexican either here or abroad and when I go on vacation with friends I always end up being the ghost in the picture.
    People always ask me if I don’t tan because I want to look Canadian… Listen guys, believe me. If I could forego slathering sunscreen that is as thick as mayonnaise every 15 minutes, I’d do it.
    The only way I ever get to look tan is when my freckles start showing up and they cover my legs, I may looks splotchy but I look like a tan splotch!
    Anyways, I’ve started buying online a bunch of Korean beauty products and they’ve been lifesavers! I love them and their love of pale!

  18. I have very fair skin as well, so I totally feel you on this. I may not shine like a Cullen, but if the sun is strong enough my legs WILL reflect the light like a white wall would. The only problem I have with my skin is that I have very dark hair and quite a lot of it- I can shave one day and the hair will be noticiable before it’s even grown because it’s so dark and my skin is almost transparent. You could also make a map of the human circulatory sistem because you can see my veins fairly easily. But I love my porcelain white skin and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Plus, pale skin + dark hair + naturally reddish lips beacause they’re constantly dry = 21st century Snow White. I ain’t gonna say no to that! If only I had her singing voice…

  19. My favorite is when someone says “they have such lovely porcelain skin” and the person they’re talking about is tan and then they say I’m ghostly! No I’m porcelain they’re tan!!

  20. I live in Los Angeles and in Junior High I remember other kids giving me cards for the tanning salon. Now I work as an actress where I’ve gotten to play a few ghosts and sickly people. I did a horror film where I played the dead wife who had been dug up from her grave and the director came up to the makeup artist while she was working on me and told her “to make the rest of my face look like my forehead.” Only trouble was she hadn’t touched my forehead yet. 🙂

    Lisa
    http://www.prettylittleshoppers.org

  21. Try being someone who as a child tanned to a nut by just looking out a window to an adult who burns in the shade… My family never let me hear the end of it!! Particularly as my mum’s family is half Indian and I’m the only one this has happened to… I would rather have healthy skin though 🙂

    1. This is me! I was always so tanned as a kid, never burned. Once I turned about 18 I just burned. Have now learnt to accept being an English rose 🙂

  22. An Italian friend of mine (who adores tanning as soon as there’s a few rays of sunshine) always says I must be trying to look like the “typical” English aristocrat, whatever that is. She’s probably thinking of Elizabeth 1st – I mean, I’m no spring chicken but not *that* old! She can’t understand why I don’t want a tan. Because everyone does, don’t they?!

  23. I’ve been insulted on the beach by complete strangers – last time I went, a man was talking about me to his wife/girlfriend/whatever, saying how I have probably never been outside in my life, while looking at me with disgust and talking just loud enough for me to hear. In beauty shops, when I ask for the palest foundations I get told that either I should just buy whatever they have, because a couple of nuances in difference is no big deal, or they just shrug and dismiss me. Once I was told by a shop assistant that I should go to Sweden to find pale foundation, because ‘women here aren’t pale’. I understand that people find the colour of my skin ugly or unacceptable or sick-looking, or whatever – what I don’t understand is the need to be not only insulting and rude about it, but also aggressive. It’s mind-boggling.

    1. ‘Women here aren’t pale’.

      Well that’s a load of codswallop. If you took away sun beds and fake tan, I think you’d find quite a large number of people are pale in the UK. It just seems to be the thing to do to go out and cover yourself in orange cement and look like Donald Trump.

    2. I am 40 and I have been pale all my life -Irish,people make front of me ignore me, especially lately. they think im much older, because i had rosacea, been around a smoker a lot, my mom, trying to tan to be accepted, , one lady said i looked sixty in front of my church. I dont want to hate people, but they laugh every where i go,,, I know the devil is working through people and our insecurities, we need to pray more, and love ourselves, and try to continue to love people despite thier evil ways.

  24. Great post, I have now learned that you can get 110 SPF sunscreen!!!! I usually used 50, with multiple applications so I’ll be searching for this! It is also pretty difficult to get make up to colour match, foundations are either almost white, or they are one of a million shades of orange! I have found a nice one in NARS which was a tad costly, but worked nicely, Flagless, it may be worth a visit!

    1. You do still have to keep re-applying it all the time, unfortunately: I always buy it when I see it, but I don’t think it’s much better than SPF 50!

      1. In Europe, producers can only claim an SPF protection level of 50+ and cannot claim SPF 100 or similarly high factors.

        This quote is taken from the EU commision’s website and explains the rationale for this. “The sun protection factor (SPF) is a score used to describe the ‘strength’ of the product to protect against “sun–burn”, i.e. mainly UVB radiation. It is important to know that an SPF over 50 practically does not increase the protection against sun burn and UVB radiation.”
        http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-306_en.htm

        From ‘Sun Protection and Products Guide’ (http://www.sun-protection-and-products-guide.com/SPF.html): ‘In Europe, Sunscreen manufactures are limited to claiming an Sun Protection Factor of 50+, in Australia it is even more strict – they can only claim an SPF 30+, while here in the United States, it is bit more willy-nilly.’

        Some interesting insight into why that particular level is not widely available in the UK.

        I saw Neutrogena do sell SPF 100+ on Amazon.co.uk, however. I just buy Superdrug’s Solait baby sunblock at SPF 50 and it isn’t very thick/greasy. I wear it all winter. 🙂 I also use a hemp-based SPF 30 that is even less greasy that has served me well over the past couple of years for shorter periods of exposure.

        Being pale certainly does not equal looking sickly. I am ginger and very white, although not transparent, and I wouldn’t dream of going on a sunbed to change my skin. I don’t think I look unwell and I do look markedly different when I AM unwell, so others’ negative input can, frankly, sod off. :p It just IS this way and it won’t change to suit someone else’s rather arbitray and changeable beauty standard.

  25. I can relate these comments 100%! I’m a redhead and super pale! I was super insecure about my skin being so pale. All of these comments go to me, and I always thought my skin wasn’t beautiful. I would wear shorts and people would always comment, “Wow! You’re so white!” I still don’t understand why being pale is such a bad thing. But recently I’ve learn to love my skin. It’s a beautiful feeling to be different, and love yourself in your own skin. Pale girls are beautiful just the way they are, and don’t need to change for anyone if they don’t want to. xo

    McKenzie | therosynook.com

  26. I’ve lost count of how many times someone has said, “Wow, you’re really pale – are you ill?” Nope, that’s just how I look all the time! I’m lucky in that I don’t burn easily, but I don’t tan at all either – so this is how I’ll always look, save for intervention in the name of fake tanning (which I’m too lazy to ever do).

  27. Hi Amber! Imagine being a natural redhead in Portugal! Yes, we also exist in southern Europe without having any ancestors from northern countries. Celts spread throughout western Europe and, thank god, they left their genes, because I absolutely love being a red hair woman. Here, we are extremely rare but we do exist. (LOL) Unfortunately, I had to face too many unpleasant situations mainly during childhood and my teen years, because of my hair colour, my fair skin, my freckles, my glasses, because of being tall and thin… Disrespectful comments, looks of disgust, weird and really annoying situations from strangers, family, friends… When I was a teenager it became really problematic: as I was teased frequently, my self-esteem got low, really low and I became depressed. I was always a proud red hair girl, but many people saw me as a freak and I couldn´t understand that. Those were tough times. When I became a woman everything changed radically, people started to look at me as if there was a kind of “redhead diva aura” around me. (LOL) Nothing is perfect and sometimes I still have to put up with uncomfortable situations like those you use to describe in your articles. I related to every single word you wrote in this specific article, it seemed an article written by me. It was good to read it because, as you can imagine, I don´t have natural red hair friends with fair skin to talk about all this and my friends don’t relate to this “redhead thing” at all (LOL). I have to tell you that the usual quest of this red hair woman to find the suitable foundation for her fair skin in the portuguese beauty stores is always hilarious!!! (LOL)

  28. Again, Amber, thank you for another witty and very true post. Your blog is so relatable. And despite the cheeky observations, you always offer some hope. I’m a dark-haired, fair-skinned American, and we are just as rare and ridiculed here as you are. I get “accused” of having “black” hair and “white” skin as if it’s something I did on purpose. I grew up on a Florida beach, of all places, and I’ve had sun poisoning twice, trying to be tan. I was called “Paleby” by a boy I liked, and later Snow White. Thank goodness Katy Perry is still pretty fashionable here, so now whenever I wear bright lipstick, I get “accused” of looking like her! I’ll take that!

    I think you can take this post a step further, though. Next month, I’d love to see your “makeup tips for girls with fair skin.” That would be a good follow-up. It’s true that it’s a lot harder to find good foundation without looking pasty, but it’s also hard to look fresh and natural wearing anything other than corals and beiges for day … And if I wear red lipstick, it has to be very intentional. Thanks again!

  29. Yep. Although distressingly I’ve started tanning in recent years. This feels like a betrayal by my skin.

    Well I say tanning…. my skin goes that colour that you get when you dip teabags in milk.

  30. Oh my goodness, I’ve heard all of these. When I was a teenager it even bothered my GP who insisted that I have regular blood tests because the only possible reason for my pale skin was anemia! I’m not anemic by the way. Never have been. Strange she never thought it could be down to genetics as I’m the exact same colour as my mum.
    Mind you, it used to get me out of gym as my teachers always thought I was ill. So you know, silver linings. 🙂
    http://www.tamlovestea.co.uk

  31. When I was in high school, I wore skirts a lot. People would look at my legs and say, “wow! I need sunglasses! Your paleness is hurting my eyes!” I usually laughed it off, but its true that most people have no filter.

  32. You can’t win anyway. I am pale but spend a serious amount of time outside in the summer in Canada so usually end up with a decent tan (with sunscreen- 3rd degree burns without :D). I still get comments on how white I am when I shed the tights in April. It’s April!! What do you expect?

  33. Amber, I am as pale as it gets, with frekles, and I live in Brazil, and I think you can imagine all kinds of commets, offenses, bad names and looks I got and still get. But stranger than the looks people get me for being so pale are the looks they give me when I say I have absolutely no wish of having a different skin color…

    1. in Mexico, fair skin is very popular, like all famous people or tv presenters or singers are white …

      so, the lighter you are, the more popular you’ll be with boys, jobs, and better service in general

  34. Oh yes. So many of these ring true! I once started a new job the Monday after getting back from a three-week holiday in August. Walked in on my first day and practically the first thing my new colleagues said was ‘I thought you were going on holiday?! You haven’t even got a tan!’ I had to explain that the ‘ever so slightly less milk-bottle white’ skin colour I was sporting *was* my version of a tan after a three-week holiday. I have really sun-sensitive skin and get horrendous heat rashes and sunburn if I spend even a few minutes in the sun without high-factor SPF, and people can’t deal with it. I once had to park at the opposite end of town from the hair salon I had an appointment with, and as it was summer and I’d stupidly forgotten to put my Factor 50 on, by the time I’d walked the 15 minutes to the salon my shoulders and chest were already going pink. Got into the salon and the staff were all ‘OMG! Someone’s been in the sun! Wow! That looks painful! How long were you sunbathing for?!’ Not to mention the fun that was had going on holiday with a group of friends a few years ago, and having to explain that there wasn’t ‘something wrong’ just because I physically couldn’t sit in the sun all afternoon and had to retreat to the safety of the shade.

  35. I get all of the above comments and also ‘but your hair is so dark’ as I have naturally very dark/almost black hair – it’s always said in a ‘how dare you be so pale’ sort of tone! I used to use fake tan, but I was still so pale – I think my skin repels it! 🙂

  36. So much yes to this post. I have no desire to tan even though I technically could. I prefer my natural pale and reducing my risk of skin cancer and aged skin. I’ve always thought people basically expecting you to change your light skin color is just ridiculous and rude. They’d never tell a dark skinned person to lighten their skin! Pale is pretty too. And healthy despite the cultural association of tanned with “healthy.”

  37. Luckily for me, most people around me know that I’m pale and proud, but every so often I still get the “are you ill?” question, to which I reply as politely as possible “nope, just pale”. Personally, I’m not a fan of a tan, whether it be fake or from the sun, but I would never tell someone they looked bad – each to their own. We all have different ideas of what is beautiful.

    I also get mocked for wearing sun cream all year ’round….

  38. Yes to all of these! I hate getting these questions and comments. I’m super self-conscious of how pale my skin is and I just find these types of comments to be rude. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  39. I’m super pale as well, but I’ve come to embrace it. My husband refers to me as his porcelain goddess, haha. But the best part about being so pale is that people with fairer skin typically age more gracefully than those who worship the sun and are constantly tanning! Less wrinkles and dark sunspots later on in life 🙂

    I’ve only had one or two of these comments made to me (And you’re right, the lack of wanting to sun bathe always throws people). Interestingly enough, one of my friends who’s from Indonesia was actually jealous of how white my skin was! In his culture (as well as in other Asiatic cultures) fair skin tones are considered “ideal” and a sign of wealth and power. So go pale girls!

  40. I’ve heard #1 and #11 in particular more times than I can count(and the joined-up-freckles one mentioned in the first comment) . It’s left me horribly self conscious in summer, especially in shorts or a skirt. I feel like I’ve found my tribe now though! Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  41. I have heard just about all of these. I am quite pale and burn very easily. When I burn, I don’t even get a tan from it (unless it’s a deep red and blistering burn, then my skin turns a whopping half a shade darker). However, my freckles darken, which is fine by me. When I exert myself, my face turns bright red, and I was always asked if I was feeling alright. Once, my elementary gym teacher forced me to rest because my face was so red even though I felt perfectly fine! When I got into high school, I was nicknamed “neon” and “the grudge” (because my hair is almost black.) I remember wearing a skirt one day to school and a girl in my class asked why I was wearing white tights. She was astonished when I told her I wasn’t and she called her friend over to see. I laughed it off because I got along with them, but that still doesn’t make it acceptable to turn me into a sideshow.

  42. oh my god, i am a naturally brunette Mexican girl, and i HATE when my skin gets darker because of sun !!!

    When i go to the beach i cover with logn sleeves coverups, use TONS of sunblock (Anthelios form Vichy SPF 50 very very often) and never expose myself to the sun beteween 11 am and 4 pm.

    My concern is wrinkles, dark spots, and i do not like the color my skin gets when tanned …

    So, even not pale girls can relate to this post

  43. I’ m an italian fair girl. Light blue eyes, dark blonde hair with hint of red. Even my childhood as been a nightmare: sunburns, bubbles, herithema, temperature, herpes labialis… Now people always say to me “you are really pale..You must try with UV lamp so your skin will be prepared under the sun!”.
    “You’re right!”, I say, and walk away.

  44. Oh my gosh! I am so related to this post. I’ve heard all of that and even more, especially even from some doctors who ask you if you suffer from anaemia.
    I’m from Spain, yes a sunny country, and when I was a child I used to get sunburned very fast. My mother was constantly behind me applying sun protection cream. It was the same for my brother. We got our pales skins from her. But at least I used to tolerate the sun much better than now. The worst of spending years in Spain with not wanting to apply sun protection creams appeared in my thirties, Melasma in the skin. Now, I apply sun protection and I also use whitening creams recommended from my grandmothers who saw in horror how fashion changed and getting tanned was considered “healthy”. For them, my grandmas, white skin was a symbol of richness and in their time tanned women were considered the lower “working class” or just “farmers”. A woman with pale skin was a woman with enough money to live without working.
    In High school I met a couple of girls that were like me, pale and loved them! Needles to say one of them was a Goth and the other one a Punk. In university I met another pale girl who was happy to be pale. I always surrounded myself with friends who were just like me, with fair skin and proud and happy to have fair skin. When years go by you see the effects of being careful with the sun, you age slowly and you have less wrinkles than those they used to tease us. Yes I do have problems now for not using enough sun protection cream when I was a child but I do look 7 years younger 
    Last but not least I do love pale skin and the countries you get to be treated well for being pale are those in Asia, from Japan, to China, Taiwan and Korea. Women look at you green of envy for being pale.
    Thanks for this wonderful post 

  45. “I have some great tanning lotion you can borrow. You’ll look great once you get done using it!” Thanks…
    “You should wear long pants/skirts, you’re blinding me!” Umm… good.
    “I’m sure if you tried to tan you could! Everyone can! ” I can’t tan. Believe me! “Why not?” Uuugh!!!!
    “That isn’t you’re color.” But I love this outfit! “It washes you out/makes you look sick. Just don’t wear that.”
    I ALWAYS have people reminding me to use sunscreen… My grandmother died of skin cancer before my mom and dad were together, so I’m always reminded about the dreaded skin cancer. I don’t make light of cancer at all, but I do get tired of hearing about my dead grandmother to promote the use of sunscreen. Yes I understand I can’t have long exposer to the sun or tanning bed (FYI I never have used a tanning bed, and never plan to.) So do people really have to bring up my grandmother every time I go swimming, hiking, outside etc…? People, I’m 20. I know!
    I could go on and on! maybe I should make my own blog post about this!

  46. 1.) Are you part albino?
    2.) you’re not Portuguese!
    (Half Portuguese half Irish)
    3.) do you get lost in the sand?
    4.) what’s the highest sunblock they make for people like you?
    5) I would die if I was white like you!
    These are from women…the men who are attracted to whities like me, usually say “you’re so beautiful and I love your skin.” Lol like oh my husband.

  47. Looks like folk are still adding comments to this post. First of all how bloody rude of other people to insult your skin tone and add their “helpful” comments. I’m not particularly pale-skinned myself but I always avoid sunlight, much as I enjoy being outside during summer. I’ll always go for the shadier side of the street or a nice tree, etc.

    I once had a very politically-correct “friend” from Naples tell me I was far too pale and should go on holiday (I do and I come back as peelly-wally as when I set off!), adding things she’d never have said to a black friend of ours about her skin tone (and rightly so!). or another helpful friend who said “You’re paranoid about being out in the sun though, aren’t you?” No, I just want to protect myself from skin cancer!!

    Interestingly, while living in Japan I soon got used to seeing women walking around with parasols in summer and the shops were full of beautiful silk ones. Far too expensive on my English teacher’s salary sadly, but it was great to be able to walk around with my umbrella up on a sunny day and not get funny looks or comments for protecting my skin. You’d never hear the end of it if you did that in the UK, plus you’d be labelled as a miserable so-and-so.

  48. Seems like those of us who are pale get a lot of the same stupid comments, did you have bad weather on holiday? oh you’re not very brown are you? (again like its a competition), gosh you’re burnt/bright red (on the odd occasion I miss a bit of skin with the suncream). What always surprises me is that I would never pass comment on how people look like that (though I admit I might think it) because it might upset them!!

  49. Yes, im annoyed by such thing too but it’s quite the opposite. Im southeast asian and easily tanned (normally i have jessica alba complexion), one of the suckest thing in my life is when my friends grabs my arm to compare our skin color (and i have this half-chinese friend who constantly compare hers to mine because, well, she’s from chinese descent and obviously lighter). I wonder why some people does that kind of useless thing. And my aunt keeps complaining about my skin, compare me to my light-skinned cousin, saying that actually im quite pretty BUT sadly im not light-skinned. Ouch. Since when your skin color affect your attractiveness? I really hate asian standard of beauty!
    When I read your post I realized both type of skin have pros and cons. I learned to be grateful with what i have… for now. xD

    1. Yeah I went to Bali once and saw skin lightening creams in the stores and it’s the same here there’s tanning lotions. Grass is always greener on the other side I suppose.

  50. I’m so late to this. I am a Scot living in Scotland, largest percentage of red heads on the planet. Not that I’m actually one of them.

    I’m not the blondest person in the world, top one percent for palest though. I have experienced everything on your list, from fellow Scots.

    One night, just after I’d finished work I headed to Nice ‘N Sleazy’s with a few friends for a drink. I was first of the group and when we got to the door, there was one of the biggest, blackest men I had ever seen. He was security, working the door. He, very nicely asked me to step to the side, inside the door. He, his name is Mas, proceeded to ID and let the rest of my friends in. THEY WENT IN TOO!!!!

    I was kind of scared. Mas slowly approached me and introduced himself, asked me to sit down and then took a deep breath.

    “Are you okay,” he asked. “Do you need me to call the police?”

    I was confused.

    He actually thought I was some how being threatened by the people I was with. Why else would I be so ill looking.

    We ended finding it funny that we were the whitest/blackest people we had both met. Really though, in f*cking Scotland.

  51. Omg! I have just come across this blog and spent the last 24h hooked, you are an Incredible blogger Amber. As for this post, you must be every fair skinned person reading this articles spirit animal! I’ve had some one say every single one of these things to me. Shall I really put the icing on the cake, with a cherry on top? I’m from South Africa, try being pale in a country where the sun shines CONSTANTLY and having two very naturally tanned sisters does not help ether. I’ve had two jaw dropping “fair skinned” moments in my life that will stick with me forever… 1 being a comment from my step mother about how the only reason I can tolerate Scotland is because I’m pale and have never liked the sun, she even went as so far as to say “even when we went to the beach you would always sit under the umbrella so I’m not really sure why we took you with us” umm, I sat under the umbrella so as not to be Burt to a crisp and end up in hospital with sun stroke, it really had nothing to do with not loving the beach just like every other kid there. And now for 2, having just arrived in Scotland and having met a relative for the first time one of the first things she said to me was “oh I expected you to be black seen as though your from Africa, but I’m rather shocked you are so white and pale” Umm I’m your Scottish brothers first grand child, from a son born to two Scottish parents oh and just to sweeten the tea my mother is English born to two English parents… Yup 😐

    1. “if you’re from Africa, why are you white?” “Oh my god Karen you can’t just ask people why they’re white”

  52. People use to say to me since I was a little kid to this the same question “Don’t you go to the beach?” like I need to prove to them that I have or not been there and they say in a way like they never seen a pale person before… It used me to get me in my nerves but now is a good opportunity to a good sarcasm..

  53. I used to get called ghost a lot but then all of my friends started using fake tan and looking like a baboons but and I was sitting there with my milky skin and I realised I’m beautiful just the way I am and if people can’t realise that then I can’t call them a friend x

  54. it’s funny to see all these claims bc everybody here is european/american. you are scottish wich is the palest nation ever. I’m brazilian and I thought it was just here it’s that hard. first time i realize the opposite it was when i saw it’s very hard to find a very pale foundation even when I travel aboard. sometimes people thinks it’s cute my paleness but mostly they say I need to go to the beach or whatever. my parents are not that pale bc they have been tanning since forever and now they need to go to doctors every once in a while bc all the skin cancer thing. my hometown is rainy as fuck but it’s very annoying live in a sunny country with all this tan culture hahahaha i don’t even know why i’m that pale bc my family is italian, portuguese and german and they are not the palest nationality in the world. i’m brunette btw and it gives me all this adam’s family vibes. hahaha

  55. Oh my gosh!! You spoke my mind! It’s even worse that I have dark brown almost black hair, no freckles, and i’m Italian! I get asked all the time, “Aren’t Italians supposed to be tan?” “You can’t be.” It makes me so mad. Sometimes I want to snap their necks off, but my head tells me to be a better person. I’m so sick of having people tell me I look dead. I constantly tell me people I’m not a vampire, and they still don’t believe me. My life is a complete struggle, but God made me this color for a reason, and changing who I am is going against Him. I love who I am and it doesn’t matter what others say to try and change it.

  56. YES to all of these! I have pale skin which just does not tan – it freckles more in summer or it burns then peels.

    I get the bonus statement of “But you’re Australian!”

    Sigh.

  57. Thank you for this. I don’t know why people don’t think it’s rude to comment on your skin colours. I always get “you need some sun” “look how much darker I am than you” or like a lot of people “you went on holiday, oh you didn’t get a tan?” And I’m like this is me tan. I used to be self conscious about it because my sister is much more tan naturally, but now at 23 I don’t really care, I’m pale and it’s too much effort to try to be tan, if you people don’t like it they can suck it. And I like how my pale skin contrasts with my brown eyes and I look really good in black clothes.

  58. I was once asked if I was albino…. I’m brunette with brown eyes….. How? This wasn’t even in like first grade this was in middle school for goodness sakes! I just don’t understand?

  59. Hey! I loved the article-sooo true to my life. I have dark brown hair and extremely pale skin. It would maybe make it a little better if I had freckles but no, I’m just a blank white canvas! Wow am I sick of being asked if I feel okay! I just recently went on a humanitarian trip to Samoa (a pacific island) that lasted three weeks working outside and enjoying the beaches every weekend and I didn’t get one shade darker (much to the bewilderment of my friends)

  60. Oh! And the “you’re like a vampire!” Or “we have to keep you out of the sun!” And I love having people grab my arm and hold it up to both of theirs and say “look, I made an Oreo!”

  61. Googled this as I sit now on holidays in the shade with my sunhat, sunglasses and factor 50 on. I get called ‘white chicken’ by locals, and constantly ‘oh have you been on holiday at all’? when I get home. Really annoys me. Yes I have been on holiday and I enjoyed the heat without damaging my skin thankyou very much. If I tanned easily id give it a go! But it would take too much effort and it’s not worth that one missed spot getting burnt and avoiding it in the shower for the next 2 weeks.

  62. I have naturally black hair and fair to olive skin. I’m mixed with white, Hispanic and Native American. I’m usually always labeled white because I’m fairer and GOTH even though I’m not. I hate it. And as for growing up the girls who hated you-you know the bullies of high school or middle labeled you as a witch. And heaven forbid if you ever wear one piece of black clothing with you black hair and pale skin. I do not dress goth but I’m labeled that by my peers all the time. Between having black hair and light skin I’m tired of the stereotypes.

  63. I googled this topic today because I’m getting pissed that one of my superiors at work likes to draw attention to me in front of my peers by calling me GOTH. Now I’m getting sh*t and lip from other because I stuck up for myself. I told him on the side that I didn’t appreciate the comment. That my dark hair is natural and genetic as well as my fair skin. I’m wearing a pair of black dress pants and a creak sweater and light pink lipstick and beige pink eyeshadow-natural/nude colors. How the hell am I Goth! I told him To stop and that I consider this a borderline racist remark- he said how and I told him this is not the first time I had to tell you this. I shouldn’t have to explain my hair color or paleness to anyone. And while I don’t see anything wrong with anyones choice of style; I’m not GOTH! And to be labeled that in my 30s in a “professional” setting is insulting because being labeled GOTH, is giving someone a negative label because people in America associate GOTH with Columbine, devil worshiping, depressed suicidal people and so on.(not that I agree but that’s the stereotype of GOTH where I’m from) and to label me such is appalling. It is a form of racism. When I am discriminated against by my peers because of my hair and skin color. Years I wish I was a blonde or any other hair color except black. Funny, it’s mainly black people who accuse me of this too. Ironic!

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