Back in the ‘80s, a Texas-based cosmetics company called BeautiControl started a bit of a craze. In living rooms and coffee shops across the nation, big-haired women with pinch-rolled jean-cuffs and over-sized neon earrings could be heard asking, “What season are you?” A woman’s “season” described her skin tone and what colors of makeup and clothing would look best with it. But in the decade that preceded this craze, there was actually an even more important system created for categorizing skin tones—the one that dermatologists still use today.
The Fitzpatrick Skin Type classification system is the tool derm pros use to classify the response of different types of skin to UV light. It’s a skin-cancer predictor, first and foremost. But it can also be a compass that points to the products and treatments that best fit you. Just as important, it pinpoints the skin color to which you should really aspire, your natural one!
The desire to tan is oftentimes rooted in the desire to have glowing skin. The reality is that any Fitzpatrick type (there are six of them) can glow. Glowing skin is less about the color and more about the care. That’s why I really encourage you to get your skin color to its natural, Fitzpatrick baseline. That’s the color of the inside of your arm, your breasts, your buttocks—all that bod geography that doesn’t see the light of day. You do this with sunscreen, floppy hats, UV-protection clothing, staying in the shade.
Next, be consistent and conscientious with your daily skincare and soul-care. In the morning, cleanse with a gentle cleanser (oil-based cleansers products are nice!). Then apply sunscreen. Do this before you apply any makeup. At night, cleanse again. Pat it dry and then exfoliate, apply retinoids if you use them, and moisturize. Get enough sleep. Drink enough water. Last but not least, be kind to yourself and others. Weed out the poisonous weeds from the lawn of your soul.
Following this regimen, I promise you’ll soon enough find that any skin color, from the palest ivory to the darkest chocolate, has the potential to glow. No tanning required.