We all know there is nothing good for you under the sun. I wholly support the idea of not getting a suntan from the sun. I am, however, confused by the idea of “sunless tanning” where orange dye is applied to the skin in order to give a full and healthy glow. There’s even a “reality” TV show on the E! network called “Sunset Tan” where we get to watch feeble-minded people turn their skin orange for a thousand dollars a session.

What is the attraction of orange skin? Isn’t naturally sun-kissed skin brown and not orange? Is orange skin a failure of technology — or is it really a Racist chemical manipulation purposely created to create a “New Color” of people instead of imitating the darker, historically discriminated against, skin of other human races like Black and Hispanic?

Would a rich, White woman want to become “darker skinned” to show her leisure time to underlings, or is it better to have the gold in your pocket reflected in the orange of your fake tan?

Do you tan under the sun, at home with chemicals, or not at all? Why is darker skin desired by so many when the history of the world has been to punish those who are darker than the majority?

Is creating darker skin a social power play proclaiming: “I choose to have darker skin, while those who are naturally born into it have no way to become lighter.”

If people really find value and beauty in wearing orange skin, why not go all the way and imitate the original Sunkist orange?

Or is the color of a Sunkist orange not dark enough?


  1. Hi David,
    My husband is an “orange person,” and I have been complaining about it for some time now.
    He tans easily in the summer– has a fairly dark complexion– but doesn’t like his “white face” in the winter, so he uses that stuff to compensate. Lately, he’s been sneaking a few fake tanning sessions into the summer!
    A typical conversation might go something like this:
    Me: Did you put that orange junk on your face again?
    Greg: Maybe just a little a couple of days ago.
    Me: Do you realize how ridiculous it looks? You look like an orangutan.
    Greg: I don’t ever pay any attention to what you say.
    As I am writing this, I see his latest purchase is a bottle of “L’Oreal Sublime Bronze, Medium-Deep.”

  2. Oh and David,
    As to why he doesn’t like his white face in the winter, he sees it as equating with “inactive cave creatures” and not portraying the “rugged outdoor” image he desires.
    I wonder if Hemingway ever used Sublime Bronze?

  3. Donna!
    That’s wild your hubby is into bronzing/oranging! It’s interesting the selling phrase is “bronzing” and not “darkening” or “blackening” the body.
    I always thought fair skin, uninterrupted by sun damage was much more beautiful on men and women than the burned-out-brown look.
    The Long Island women are famous for tanning — fake tanning — and when they visit NYC you see all these glowing, orange faces staring back at you thinking they are keeping this great secret to looking good.

  4. Oh, and Donna —
    Who is your husband trying to impress? Obviously not you. Others must note his fake tan. Is self-satisfaction the only remedy for those who choose to look orangey and streaky?

  5. Hi David,
    Speaking about orange people, there were some previews on A&E for a show that follows a matchmaker. One of her clients is a woman who is addicted to suntanning. The commercial shows the matchmaker telling the woman that she’s going to look like a leather bag when she gets older if she doesn’t lay off of the tanning.
    I’m fair-skinned, so I used to always get burned when I hung out in the sun for too long, so if I wanted to look tanned, I’d have to probably go for the orange look or else get to know a dermatologist who could monitor my skin for suspicious growths. Everyone I know works inside, so I don’t feel any pressure to be tanned. Even if I go to the pool or beach, there is always someone else who is paler than I am. 🙂
    I’m lopsided right now, so I might have to invest in some orange glow to even things out. I’ve been leaning my arm on the window sill of my van as I drive around and have a left arm that is tanned and a right arm that is pale.

  6. Chris!
    I confess to having watched that Matchmaker show! It’s very good. The young woman with the heavy makeup and orange skin was, in a word, shallow — and in another word, impossible.
    Do attorneys generally go for the “power look” of being orange and buffed? Or don’t they need those semiotics of power to compete?
    It’s funny you have a Farmer’s Tan, Chris! Or would that be a “Trucker’s Tan?” Or… “Van Driver’s Tan?” 😀

  7. Well, I guess I’ll be the first one to confess: I am a tanner.
    I tan outside.
    I tan in a bed.
    I spray it on, rub it on, buff it on, you name it, I do it.
    If you see a person who has achieved an orange tint to their skin…tell him/her to step away from the bronzer!

  8. EMILY!
    OH NO!
    You’re a codeine-taking, make-up-wearing, tattoo-having, orange-skinning Okie-from-Fenokee! You are every Good Life Nebraskan’s nightmare! :mrgreen:
    Why must you tan?
    Do you not worry about the health of your skin?
    Are you tanning for the approval of others or the satisfaction of the self? If for others, why bother? If for yourself, what difference does the color of your skin make?
    Oh, and you ARE ORANGE! You have only convinced yourself you’re browner.

  9. Hi David,
    The “rainmakers” are tan because they are forced to take clients golfing and to all sorts of sunny locations to drum up business. The worker bees end up pale because they are usually in the office working from early in the morning until late at night taking care of all of the business the rainmakers bring into their offices.
    I suspect the attorneys who advertise with their pictures on billboards like to have the tanned look. Of course, there are other attorneys who look like they’ve never had a chance to get out of the bat cave.

    FIRST of all, let’s leave my codeine syrup out of this. When you get Strep throat and pneumonia at the same time you’ll be on your knees begging for a thimblefull!
    Secondly, you (along with all others here) have seen my picture. Do I look orange to you?
    As far as why I tan, it is no different than why I wear makeup, why I pluck my eyebrows, why I whiten my teeth or why I spend two hours at the gym: I think I look better for the effort.
    Is that vain? Certainly. Everyone is vain.

  11. Emily —
    You look a little orange!
    It’s interesting you feel the things you choose to do are vain. Are you trying to look better or live longer? Is looking artificially beautiful important?
    If you had an accident and your entire face was disfigured and unrepairable — would you still apply make up and an orange tan?
    I’m not certain about the value of teeth whitening or fake tanning… or even face-lifts or boob jobs or makeup for that matter. I am fascinated by those who are ruled by those status chits, though.

  12. David!
    You complimented my skin tone in that picture when it was posted on the site! Taking it back now, eh? 😉
    What you label “artificially beautiful” might not be labeled the same way by everyone, David; what you label “artificially beautiful” might just be “beautiful” to me. I think I am an attractive person and will not be convinced otherwise just because I have skin that is tan and not white.
    I don’t see myself changing my habits if my face were disfigured. But, then again, it is hard for anyone to say with absolute certainty what they would do when faced with such a thing.

  13. Hi David,
    The rainmakers have real tans from all of those hours spent on yachts, golf courses, at outdoor cafes, and other various nice places where business can be conducted outdoors. 🙂

  14. Emily!
    There’s a difference between vain and manners! :mrgreen:
    By “artificially beautiful” I meant the application of stuffs on the skin are not naturally part of the body.

  15. Chris!
    Right! I can see their rich, leathery, faces in my mind’s eye right now! 😀
    Gosh, the “real tanners” are really destroying their skin. I went to high school with a guy who turned from white to brown after 10 minutes in the sun. He looked 40 at 18.

  16. David,
    Yes, you are right about that! There is a difference between vain and manners and we mustn’t stop bathing or applying deodorant because we don’t want to be labeled as vain!
    I see what you mean by “artificially beautiful.” By that definition, I suppose I am a cyborg. :mrgreen:

  17. Miss Emily!
    There is no doubt you are a stunning and beautiful woman — but I hope one day you won’t need to hide behind the mask you create every day that you might feel comfortable enough let the real glow and heat of your unfettered skin show throughout the day and into the night!

  18. Hi David!
    I tan in the sun and thats it. I used to actually lay out in it, but after discovering that a sunburn is not an attractive look, I tend to not actually lay there in the hopes of getting a tan.
    Nowadays I wear sun lotion, and if we head out, at least I’m protected and have more of a chance of becoming bronzed as opposed to lobster red.
    I think those who go all out and have this horrible dark skin use it as a sign of prestige. They’re usually the ones with more money than sense, and way too much time on their hands. Unfortunately, even a suntan eventually can’t hide their wrinkles.
    My sister has a tanning bed of her own. I never saw the point. She has dark bronzed skin at all times of the year, (and yes, she uses it in the summer too!) All I can say to her is fine, you might look good now, but you’re gonna look horrible when you get skin cancer. She doesn’t care. She’s thinking about how good she looks as opposed to years down the road when it’s too late to reverse the effects.

  19. Hi Dawn!
    Oh, my! I am concerned for your sister. Jinkers! She’s betting on misery and lots of medical trouble as time goes on. Once you burn your skin — JUST ONCE! — your skin is damaged and vulnerable forever. You can’t take back the damage from that initial burn. You can only live with the consequences and that’s why, if vain people must, going orange is better than going to an early grave.

  20. I landed in USA in a summer and got a shock of my life seeing those artificially tanned skin, it took me a couple of days to find out the reason behind it.
    Somebody once advised me to color my hair with a reddish brown – according to them it was supposed to heighten my “beauty” –
    it goes without saying I didn’t buy it!

  21. If a person of a darker race wanted to be lighter they would be consider a person of low self esteem and truly crazy a discrace to there race Micheal Jackson for example so what about those of whiter skin wanting to have a illusion of dark skin are they same? the reason why white people changes them selves orange is because it is impossible to brown white skin it usually looks red and burned unless you have some melanin in your family.Big Breast full lips Darker skin are all apart of the darker race people naturally. also in Brazil where the beautiful people live they do have a natural orange brown tint to there skin

  22. “The above statement does not apply to whitening your teeth. Thats something everyone should do, and is a definite must in any beauty or hegiene routine.”
    What on earth kind of statment is that to have after such an in-depth analysis of the ignorance behind the attempts to alter skin colour? “Everyone should love their natural colour etc etc… oh but artificially whitening your teeth is a must, leave your skin natural, your hair natural but by all means you must get your teeth whitened” hahaha I mean yes brushing your teeth, regular check ups for sure but that statement really does take away any sort of status of intelligence behind your original comment, and is quite disappointing.
    I stumbled across this forum during a search for facts and stats about tanning… has been an interesting read and totally agree with the fact that a tan is being used for purely a ‘hot’ look, lets all look like paris hilton etc etc, yet as this ‘blonde, blue eyes, dark tan’ look is taking over so many girls, the fair skinned, dark hair look is really standing out in the crowd which is awesum! I really hope we can reverse what Co Co Channel did 85years ago in a time where tan was poor and pale was hot, Coco returned from a holiday burnt/tan by accident and so the fashion trend began… Im sure this stupid fashion trend must be the longest running in history… I wonder if the skinny model will outlive it?

  23. Yes, i am now aware of my miss-spelling of solariums so before anyone rips me to shreds for my lack of correct spelling I thought Id correct myself thanks

  24. Thanks for the interesting thoughts, Solariums. It would be great if you decided to use your real name so we could really have a discussion about this. You make some excellent points.

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