Beautyknot ~ My Skin Care Diary

Fair skin vs Tan skin

Posted on: February 15, 2009


Fair skin or tan skin, this is aesthetic view between western and eastern  perspectives. Most women in Asia were crazy over the fair skin, trying to achieve the very fair skin by hook and by crook. While most westerners fancy sun bathing or tanning salon to get their fair skin tanned.


There are few versions that I heard and read long time ago which personally I found them very interesting to know.



taiwan - Angela Zhang

Angela Zhang

Asia part

Since ancient age, the high social status group like wealthy businessman and office worker usually have fairer skin because they don’t spend long hours to be under the hot sun. While low social status group, usually grass-root level like farmer and estate worker whose need to work under scorching hot sun in long hours, thus they have tanned skin. The culture impression imparts the concept from generation to generation, until today, Chinese adage – ” yì bai zhe san chou” ( Lame English translation : “A fair skin camouflages three ugliness” ) still well-known among the young, giving the perception that you will look more beautiful with fairer skin. Asia woman with fair skin also perceived as impeccable, lovely and attractive.


The “fair skin” culture is timeless. That can be told by how sellable of whitening product in Asia. In this modern era, the reasons for fair skin was varied that might not associated with social status, more are related to pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Ideally, most Asian admired the radiant skin with rosy blush, which implies youthful healthy glow. On the other hand, many Asia celebrities were crazy over tanned skin in recent years, hence, more Asian are getting into tan skin fever. Also, Asian could easily get medium or darker skintone over years under hot sun in Southeast Asia region, some burned severely that can never revert to their original lighter tone naturally.



US - Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan


Western part 

Most westerner has genetic fair skin especially those from Northern or Eastern Europe. After World War Two, Europe had suffered great loss from  the war and people living quality was not as affluent as before. Those have tanned skin meant those were well-to-do to have holiday vacation for sun bathing. On the other hand, men or women with tanned skin usually marks as sexy, fascinating and glamorous.


I could be wrong here, but I guess those living in cold climate extremely love sunshine. I never like to be under sun because I could get sunburn easily, however, whenever I was in autumn/winter oversea, I couldn’t help myself to search for any sunshining spot, and stand there for long time in order to bath warmly in the sunshine.


Basically, lighter skin tone tends to get sunburn when exposed to sunlight, therefore, apply sunblock or sunscreen to protect from photo-aging (hyperpigmentation and wrinkles) as well. Three major types summarized as follows: (source from


Type One: Always burns and never tans

Type Two: Always burns but only tans sometimes

Type Three: Can sometimes burn but always tans


Final thought, whether you are white, yellow, brown, red or black, we look best in our original color.


10 Responses to "Fair skin vs Tan skin"

ellas son geniales

gracias. (“v)

Who wants to look pale as a ghost. At school the girls only pay attention to the tanned guys, not the pasty white ones like me.

maybe,but im asian,filipino,i live from mindanao,and grow up always under the sun,playing all day,no such thing as beautiful bec. of having fair skin,and now tht i am in my early 20’s i ‘ve gone mad,i was born with fair skin,and now my dilemma,i have very fair face tht is full of small moles,lentigo and freaking freckles,i was so insecure bout those who have clean face,as the time passes by my lentigo become even more darker,dermatologist 100 percent cz by the sun,so i realize its time to take action,never to stay direct to the sun,whch is hard cz we love to hang out at the beach,arrgggg

Hi ugok,
Defination of beauty varied by culture and time, even by individual. Warm sunshine make people happy. I wish I can enjoy beach as much as you do but my generic freckled and sensitive skin dicouraged me plus I look better with fair skin, most importantly, I can’t swim. (“b)

Don’t avoid sun for You won’t be happy if you can’t be youself. No dilemma, you can still play and enjoy the sunshine at beach in tropical Mindanao.

Here are my friendly suggestions:

For skin care issue, go sun smart. Avoid direct exposure from 10am until 5pm because the UV is strongest in this time frame. Hence you may want to plan some beach activities at this time range such as lying under sun umbrella or have a picnic under shade etc. On the other hand, go crazy as much as you want with water sport out of the time frame, I hope that would be enough for you (“v)

If you can’t avoid the time frame, beside applying sunscreen, remember wearing UV protection suit (for surfing, diving etc), or as simple as wearing hat to give you some protection from harmful UV rays.

Additionally, use After-Sun product to soothe your skin, eat anti-oxidant enriched food (include skin care) to boost your inner strength against sun damage, gentle whitening/brightening product to keep pigmentation at bay, avoid using photo-sensitive skin care ingredients (like AHAs, BHA, certain essential oils, …etc ) during the day time, these will help to minimize the sun damage.

I was assuming you can’t live without sunshine and beach, so hopefully my suggestion is helpful. Don’t let those pigmentions deter you to shine. (‘`v)

I don’t understand, I’ve always thought that fair skin is the perfect skin, because in fairy tales the girls are always so white, and now people are getting tanned all over the world, and don’t tell me Asian people are not, because in my country “Jordan” everybody is getting tanned, I just hate it, I have a fair skin and I just don’t know if it’s right to change it.

Hi guest,

“Perfect” is quite a subjective term when come to beauty, most importantly, have the self-confidence.

Most fairy tales we commonly known are originated from Europe, and most fairy tales are written before 19th century where people in Europe still adored fair skin. For additional info, you can read more about the culture & history of sun tanning in Europe here.

Tan skin might be viewing as fashionable in today society and often being promoted by media besides the influential factor from celebrities. Trust me, not everybody wanted to get tan skin in Asia or in Europe, many people appreciate their own appearance and “colour”. At least in South East Asia, I always get compliment of my fair skin.

Ask yourself a question – Do you feel better and more pretty to get your skin tanned?

I like having pale skin. I even put whitening cream on my arms so they’ll look as white as possible.

Hi, I read some girls even apply whitening essence on their arms for very fair skin… as long as you feel good having a very fair skin (” v)

Hey Louie I wish I could meet you. I’m black and I’ve always wanted a very fair skinned white boyfriend. Any chance of getting to know you?

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February 2009

My apology

Hi, many things have been keeping my mind and time occupied these days, thus I need more time to response to all comments. Please bear with me, thank you.

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My Skin Profile

Sensitive, combination skin type, visible blood vessels, freckles, easily dehydrated, dry and having fine line undereye, occasional breakout, visible aging pores.



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