Truth and Tips about Tan Lines

I’m a very white chick. Just so you know. You haven’t seen my face, but I’ve shown my feet before and they’re a giveaway.

my feet

Not that far off the color of that white sheet!

I’m a little jealous of those with bronzed or dark skin. From what I can tell, they don’t blind people when they wear shorts; they don’t burn to a crisp when they forget the sunscreen for an hour or so; and their blue veins don’t show through their skin. I don’t know what that feels like.

But if you’re looking to secure a tan this summer — to look better for yourself, the beach, or your husband — here’s some truth and a few tips about tanlines:

Woman sunbathing and wearing hat

Some men love ’em, some don’t. While looking up tan lines, I was fascinated to discover that some men find tan lines a huge turn-on. When a woman wears a swimsuit again and again in the summer, the lighter areas are obviously parts she doesn’t show to others. So when she shows them to hubby, it’s a reminder that he’s getting a look-see at something private, exclusive, intimate. Some husbands love that visual.

Other hubbies like a uniform color of skin, whether white, brown, black, etc. They may find tan lines distracting and prefer a smoother look so they can focus instead on the areas that capture their interest.

So take into consideration what your husband prefers. You don’t have to kowtow to his preferences, but give them some weight. It may be easy enough to alter your plan a bit and appeal to his visual interest.

Tanning doesn’t necessarily mean skin cancer. Of course, it can. When I was growing up, we thought nothing of slathering Hawaiian Tropic oil on our bodies and laying out in the sun for hours in hopes of turning a deep shade of brown. Which was like sending a personalized invitation to Mrs. Skin Cancer to attack us in later years. Bad. Idea. What were we thinking?!!

But there are other options now for getting a tanned look without putting your skin at risk. Wear sunscreen while you’re out in the sun, but grab some bronzer to apply in your own home, use a self-tanning lotion, mousse, or gel, or get an airbrush tan at a local salon. Let a beauty consultant in the store or salon assist you with choosing the right product and color for your particular skin and test your skin out first before application.

Be smart about getting a tan. You’re going for a sun-kissed look — without the sun-smacked skin cancer, thank you very much.

Be the color you are. Years ago I made peace that I will never, ever looking like the Coppertone model. God made a variety of skin color, driven by our level of pigmentation, and that makes the world a far more interesting place. A tan shouldn’t change who God made you to be, merely add a little oomph to your hue.

You’ve all seen the people who go too far when it comes to altering their appearance (whether hair color, plastic surgery, make-up, etc.), and the same issues can arise with tanning. If you choose to get a tan of some kind, keep the look within the realm of natural possibility given your skin tone and coloring. You’ll achieve a less fake, more enhancing appearance.

Take care of your skin. If you’ve experienced sun damage from prior tanning, see a dermatologist. I’m headed to one soon myself to check on an “age spot” that doesn’t look quite right. A good dermatologist can check any skin markings, moles, etc. by doing a thorough mapping of your body.

You can also perform regular self-examination with a body map. You’re looking for changes of your skin spots in size, color, texture, and more. If you discover problems, get treated. Surface skin cancer spots should be tested and can often be removed without further issues.

Love the skin you’re in. I find it fascinating to look at the array of skin colors out there. There’s something so gorgeous about everything from fair porcelain to golden tan to rich mocha skin. Whether you choose to add some tan or not, be confident with who you are.

Sometimes we gals overthink things even as basic as our skin tone. Even the lovely wife in Song of Songs had an issue:

“Do not gaze at me because I am dark,
because the sun has looked upon me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
they made me keeper of the vineyards,
but my own vineyard I have not kept!”

Song of Songs 1:6

Yet one verse earlier, she also said: “I am very dark, but lovely.” And a couple of verses later her husband calls her “O most beautiful among women.”

She looked fine. Lovely and beautiful, in fact! I suspect you do too. Whether you’re paper white like me or super-dark or somewhere in between. God makes good stuff, and our skin tone is among our assets.

As for me, I’ll be adding a touch of tan here and there. Fake tan. And I’ll be heading outdoors at times to enjoy God’s beautiful creation, while slapping on a healthy dose of sunscreen to protect the skin God gave me.

What are your own observations or tips about tan lines?

13 thoughts on “Truth and Tips about Tan Lines

  1. happygal

    Hmm, I hadn’t thought about men actually liking tan lines. I know I love summer because my man works outside a lot and tans well, and I think his tan lines are extremely attractive. Something to ask him, I suppose! Thanks for the post–it was thought-provoking, as usual! 🙂

    1. Mrs Dave

      Oh goodness happygal now you have me thinking about my husband’s arms in the summer when he wears t-shirts; all muscled and big and strong….not cool! How am I gonna wait all day to touch him now?

  2. Rebecca

    Yes! I second the point about the dermatologist! I’m ghostly white and rarely go out in the sun, but because I have a family history of skin cancer I’ve had to have over 10 places removed on my skin before the age of 21! So don’t wait if you see a spot that looks unusual!

  3. libl

    Honestly, not even going to worry about it. With everything else under the sun to worry about or take consideration for for how I visually appear to hubby, I am not going to add the tan line debate to that. I garden and farm, so I have female farmer tan lines. I don’t have time to lay out and even things out. And I am not slathering pricey chemicals in my pores to achieve that. So, he’d better like farm girl tan lines….luckily, I’m quite sure he does.

  4. BJ

    Just want to mention. Sunscreens are full of carcinogens that are way more dangerous than any sun damage. Also, new research shows that lack of Vit D (from the sun) is actually a cause of melanoma. God gifted us with the sunshine, it is not the culprit of cancer, but many things we put on our bodies and consume are harmful. I know, a bit off topic… 😉

    1. Robin2014

      As an oncologist that deals with many different types of cancer, please, please, please do not ignore sunscreens. Research ones that are organic if you must, but do not forgo sunscreens. IMHO, we all have our own opinions on this subject but I see cases of skin cancer every day that could be prevented by using sun “protection”.

      1. J Post author

        Thank you for speaking up! I do agree we need to be careful about what we put on our skin, but I’m also a believer in quality sunscreen…and big floppy hats. 🙂

  5. Mrs Dave

    I’ll have to ask my husband about tan lines. He hasn’t said anything about them when I do have them and worries when I stay out in the sun too long, so I’m guessing he’s more of a smooth color guy. But who knows? Maybe this is one more way to turn him on 😉

    As a general observation, I have met men in the past who like tan lines. I once had a man try to pick me up by telling me how much he liked mine. At the time I thought it was odd because I always saw tan lines as ugly. He went about it totally inappropriately and I shot him down, but in marriage I can see how it would be a lot of fun. Play “you can only kiss me along tan lines” and see where it goes from there?

  6. Abra

    I’m one of those gals whose skin tans easily (Cherokee bloodline). That said, in the winter my European blood becomes much more obvious so I have done my fair share of tanning research. Generally speaking Jergens Natural Glow is the best tanning lotion out there. It looks natural and most skin doesn’t react badly to it. I also second tanning beds. 5 minutes a week isn’t going to lead to skin cancer for most of us. My doctor actually recommended it for relieving SAD symptoms. I’ve tried a spray on once but it was the least natural looking, in my opinion, but it might be different for someone else. As far as cancer scares go, we need to be wise about how we tan (or don’t tan), remember moderation and not be fearful. God is ultimately the one who gives and takes away cancer.

    Thanks for addressing this subject! I had no idea that tan lines could be hot until my husband enlightened me! 🙂

  7. Amy

    Interesting post! As a very white gal with blond hair and light blue eyes, I obviously do not tan very well. I CAN tan but it takes me laying outside very single day all of summer and honestly, I’ve got better things to do. 😉
    I have always struggled with my pale skin. As a teen it was horrible as I watched what appeared to be every single girl in school get brown and here I was getting red at best with baby oil slathered on me. Yeah, the stuff we used to do.

    At 49 I have tried to get comfortable in my own skin as it were, but honestly, summer is not one of my favorite months just because I don’t feel like I can really rock a cute pair of shorts with pasty white legs poking out. But this year I’ve said to heck with it and have actually been wearing shorts way more often than my capris, and interestingly, hubby gets home from work and if I have shorts on he always comments on how great I look! He wants to see my legs no matter how pasty, but I will say I have started using a self tanner on a regular basis and it gives me a little more confidence.

    So, I try to see myself as beautiful no matter the shade of my skin, but it still is hard when all around me are these tan women. At least hubby says I’m beautiful so that should be enough.

    And he does love tan lines because even if I don’t tan very darkly whenever I’ve been in a tank top and get a little tan line on my back he always comments. 😉

  8. Alayna Spinler

    I don’t know if my hubby cares whether I have tan lines or not, but I know for me, I burn then as it heals it turns to a tan. I am Hungarian and I have super sensitive skin and very pale also. So it gets real fun in the summer where I can litterally be outside for 15-30 mins and I’m already half burnt. I usually hate summer due to the heat and the burning sun so I choose to go out selectively and to most times stay in the house where it’s Air Conditoned and I don’t get heat sick. It’s not fun at all. That’s why I love summer nights when they are cooler and the sun is not as strong.

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