How to Maintain a Pale Complexion

Two Parts:Protecting YourselfGetting into Good Habits

Whether you have naturally light skin or simply want to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun, maintaining your pale skin is a year round job. Even when it's not as obvious in the cooler months or on cloudy days, your skin is just as susceptible to ultraviolet rays, which can lead to skin damage or skin cancer.[1] However, in knowing how to protect yourself properly and by getting into good habits, you can maintain your pale skin throughout the year.

Part 1
Protecting Yourself

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    Apply sunscreen daily. Sunscreen should be applied every day, regardless of the time of year. SPF 15 or above is recommended. In case you’re uncertain as to which type of SPF you need, remember that the number of SPF helps to determine how long the product will be effective in protecting you before having to reapply it. In other words, it helps you to figure out how long you can stay in the sun without burning.[2]
    • In order to determine the effectiveness of an SPF on your skin, take the SPF number (for example, 15) and multiply that by the time it takes your skin to burn. If your skin burns in 30 minutes and you apply SPF 10, you’ll be protected for 300 minutes.
    • Makeup is not a substitute for sunscreen. In fact, wearing too much makeup may contribute to skin damage and a poor complexion. Therefore, it's best to avoid heavy makeup when possible.[3]
    • Be sure to reapply your sunscreen, particularly if you are in the water. Use the calculation from above to determine how often you need to reapply, but a general rule of thumb is every 3-4 hours.
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    Wear a hat. Wear wide-brimmed hats to protect your face and neck, as these are the areas most commonly affected by sun damage.[4] It’s important to note that hats should be worn along with and not in lieu of, sunscreen.
    • While men may be inclined to protect themselves with baseball hats, it's important to note their lack of effectiveness in protecting the neck, lower face and ears.[5]
    • Consider a cotton neck protector. They can be worn under baseball hats if you don’t have an alternative hat to wear. Neck protectors are inexpensive to purchase and can be found at most major retail stores.
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    Don’t go outside in the heat of the day. Sun rays are particularly strong between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, regardless of whether it's a cloudy/hazy day or a bright, sunny one.[6]
    • Try to plan your outdoor activities for the morning and evening times. You should still wear sunscreen though, regardless of whether you’re out and about during peak times!
    • If you do need to be outside during the day, find shady spots. If you’re going to the beach where there’s not a lot of shade, bring an umbrella to sit under.

Part 2
Getting into Good Habits

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    Eat fruits and veggies. Fruits such as apples, guavas, pears and peaches may positively affect your skin color, so feel free to eat them in order to maintain your pale skin.[7] Anything that is rich in vitamins and minerals helps give skin that healthy glow, so eat up!
    • Aim for a rainbow of colors when it comes to fruit and vegetables and try to eat at least five portions a day.[8]
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    Exfoliate your skin. Despite cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen, your skin may not be as healthy as it could be if you forget to exfoliate.[9] There are many different ways to exfoliate, from at home scrubs, to professional services that don’t require scrubbing. Choose what works for you based on your skin type.
    • If your skin is extremely sensitive it may make sense to consult a professional. Otherwise, you should be able to use a scrub at home.
    • Always read the directions carefully and do not scrub your face hard.
    • Try exfoliating your skin once a week if you’re doing it at home. If you’ve chosen to consult a professional, ask them how often you should be exfoliating.
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    Find a good skin care routine. In addition to exfoliating, find a nightly skin care routine that works for you. This includes washing your face with a mild cleanser and then applying moisturizer.
    • Regardless of your skin type, get in the habit of moisturizing after washing your face. This helps to improve skin tone and texture and can cover imperfections.[10]
    • Moisturizers can vary, so find one that works for your particular skin tone. It is beneficial to find one that has an SPF, but again, products aren't a substitute for sunscreen!
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    Don't use harsh face products. Pale skin tends to be rather sensitive, so do your best to avoid using harsh products, which contain ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.[11]
    • There are healthy, natural alternatives you can try. Raw honey is one option. In addition to containing anti-bacterial and probiotic properties, honey helps to reduce breakouts and prevent new ones by removing dirt and impurities.[12]
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    Stop smoking. In addition to being bad for your overall health, smoking has a negative effect on your skin, as it may take on an orange or grey hue.[13] Therefore, if you’re trying to maintain a pale complexion, smoking will have an adverse effect on your efforts.
    • Smoking negatively impacts the condition of the skin as well. By continuing to smoke, you may develop skin conditions such as psoriasis, which gives your skin a scaly quality.[14]


  • Cover up when you're outside! If you can see through the fabric, the sun will be able to penetrate your clothing.
  • When applying sunscreen, don't forget the back of your neck. Ask someone to help with any areas you can't reach.


  • You do still need the sun's rays to help produce vitamin D, but can gain the sun's benefits with surprisingly limited exposure.

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Categories: Skin Tone