It’s ok to still be a whiter shade of pale

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

THANK good­ness or­ange faces are go­ing out of fash­ion.

Sales of fake tan have plum­meted and the paler look is be­com­ing fash­ion­able once more.

The num­ber of bot­tles of fake tan sold in 2014 fell by nearly a quar­ter from the pre­vi­ous year which is good news for us lilies.

OK, I’ve never wanted to look like Coco Chanel who pop­u­larised the Riviera tan but, like most peo­ple, I’ve had mo­ments when I’ve made an ef­fort to be a darker shade of pale.

In the school lunch break we teens would get out our lit­tle screw top bot­tles con­tain­ing a home­made tan­ning con­coc­tion – a mix­ture of oil and vine­gar – roll up our sleeves, hitch up our skirts and lit­er­ally fry our skin to alarm­ing, and com­pet­i­tive, shades of red. As young women with no wor­ries about skin can­cer or pre­ma­ture age­ing, we con­tin­ued to spend hours pros­trate on bal­cony, beach or bench, soak­ing up the dam­ag­ing rays. Mid­day sun? Lovely. The hot­ter, the bet­ter.

Once on hol­i­day with my par­ents, dad be­came ill af­ter too long in the blaz­ing sun at East­bourne. He was shiv­er­ing alarm­ingly although he had a high tem­per­a­ture; it was the only time I saw any­one suf­fer­ing from se­ri­ous sun­stroke. As pack­age tours abroad be­came popular, and lo­tions, bought and home­made, were re­placed by safer sun­screens with mys­te­ri­ous fac­tor codes, it was more vi­tal than ever to re­turn from a hol­i­day with a tan to im­press your friends.

Un­like Mr F, who can turn brown while sit­ting in the shade wear­ing a hat, I had to work hard at it. I can re­mem­ber on one oc­ca­sion the shame of re­turn­ing from Ma­jorca with just a hint of beige. I did then have a few tries at fak­ing it, although th­ese usu­ally failed to im­press. My blotchy face and patchy legs en­sured ev­ery­one knew I wasn’t sport­ing a gen­uine Riviera tan, so I gave up.

Sun lamps, sunbeds and sun­bathing might be out of favour, but there will al­ways be those who want to be bronzed and spray tan­ning is the one area of growth in an oth­er­wise de­clin­ing in­dus­try.

Don’t think I’ll bother – un­less I’m asked to ap­pear on Strictly. Ha. We don’t need to look like Katie Price or ‘cheap as chips’ David Dickinson to pop down to Ruis­lip Lido, do we?

Email bmail­bar­bara@gmail. com and catch up at www. getwestlon­don.co.uk/bmail

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