Please don't go out in shorts if your circulatory system is visible," advises a friend on my Facebook feed. This is the time of year when many translucently pale people wish they could head for the hills — tall, chilly peaks where the whitest thing around is the snow and fair complexions aren't subject to criticism.
Dera Enochson, CEO and founder of Xen-Tan self-tanners, can relate to the summer plights of the pale.
"As a redhead, I spent my life unsuccessfully self tanning," says Enochson, who describes her complexion as ghost-white. "One of the biggest problems was that it would flake and break apart on me. I always had darker knees. And I could never get my neck to not be blotchy. I didn't feel comfortable going to a pool party."
These are all problems I've experienced with self-tanning, and they're why I abandoned the effort, reconciling myself to whitish-pink skin and the occasional snide comment. But Enochson says it's time to get past those bad tans.
"Times have changed, ingredients have changed," she says. "If you haven't tried it in a while, try it again. You can always do just your legs."
Armed with this encouragement, I forayed into the world of self-tanners: airbrush tans, self-tanning towelettes, lotions and bronzing makeup. I'm now a little wiser — and a little darker. Here's a rundown of each method.