This was taken after a week at the beach, mind you. Notice how my white top shows off my savage tan. Ahem.
The truth is, my skin WILL tan if I let it. But my very best skincare tip, which comes straight from the heart of an aging redhead, is this:
Make peace with light-colored skin.
Now, if we're truthful, most of us will admit that we think that everyone looks better if they have a bit of tan. Pale skin reminds us of sickness; tanned skin makes us think of youth and vitality. But there's something you should know: unless you are naturally dark-complexioned, the skin that looks so pretty and bronzed today is not going to look good when you're my age.
I'm 48 years old. The photo above was taken when I was 45. Obviously my skin isn't perfect; there are some crow's feet hiding behind those sunglasses, I have some freckling on my face, and I have lots of moles. But I've watched as my sun-loving peers--the ones whose tans I used to envy--have developed skin that's really spotted. What was smooth, beautifully tanned, healthy-looking skin when we were in our teens, 20's, and early 30's is now, in our late 40's, covered in age spots. The delicate skin of the neckline and decolletage areas are particularly susceptible areas, it seems.
Believe me, I understand that you may prefer the look of tanned skin. But that tanned look on fair-skinned people is actually sun damage, and it'll come back to haunt you. I know that the risk of skin cancer often can seem awfully remote, and meanwhile, we all want our skin to have a healthy-looking glow. Trust me on this, though: if you spend a lot of time in the sun or in a tanning bed, you can end up with unsightly spotting and wrinkling--not when you're 80, but when you're in your 40's! If you really, really want the look of tanned skin, find a sunless tanner you like and use it. Meanwhile, use your sunscreen and be grateful for your smooth skin.
Now for the love story part of this post. The story has to do with that photo of me above. My husband Jack took that picture at the beach in the summertime. At Christmastime that year, he told me that he wanted something particular for his Christmas gift from me and that he would like to order his own present. That was a highly unusual request for Jack, but he promised me that what he wanted was a good thing, so I agreed to the plan. I wondered what he could be wanting--a big flat-screen TV? something special for his car? I had no clue. He ordered the mysterious item online, but wouldn't give me any hints about it. A couple of weeks later, a huge box appeared on our front porch. By this time my curiosity was really piqued. When Jack opened the package, I let out a little scream. Want to see what it was?
It's that photo that he took, turned into a Lichtenstein-style piece of art. He ordered it from allpopart.com.
This photo will give you an idea of its size--it measures 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 feet!
It hangs in our bathroom, on the wall to the right of Jack's vanity, where my image can inspire him (or haunt him!) every day.
Isn't that the sweetest thing? God bless that man. This year we'll celebrate our 27th anniversary, and he still likes to take pictures of me. My hair now has a number of white hairs mixed in with the red, but I still don't have age spots. I'm really glad I learned to live at peace with my fair skin.
Note: There are lots of good sunscreens and sunless tanners available for reasonable prices. For protecting my face, neck, and chest on an everyday basis, I particularly like Olay Complete moisturizer with sunscreen--it's a great moisturizer and the sunscreen is effective. I have no affiliation with Olay, but I love their product--I'm living proof that it works! I also wear big UV-blocking sunglasses (as you can see in the photo). When I go to the beach, in addition to sunscreen, I lounge under an umbrella, wear a big hat, and wear a UV-blocking shirt when I'm playing in the water. I also keep the sunroof in my car closed during the day--it's a "moonroof" for me.
So what about you? Are you fair-skinned or a bronzed beauty? Have any favorite products you'd recommend? Please share!
Check out Beth's blog for lots of inspiration!