Telling people they are too pale or too white is as bad as saying someone is too dark.

This basically ruined my life. Growing up in California, and in the 70s and 80s everyone had a tan. Me, white as a sheet and I only burn. I looked so out of place (I thought anyway).

I had people telling me all the time I needed to get some sun, or look pekid, etc. Even a teacher once asked if I was sick, in front of the class. He said I was "paler than normal."

I got to the point that I thought burned skin was better than white skin, and all through my teenage years I was laying out burning myself. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was like I was brainwashed to feel like I was some kind of horrible ugly monster.

Even my mom, instead of saying "your fair skin is beautiful," would only say "why do you keep burning yourself? You're not going to tan,, and you just need to accept that.." She, meanwhile was naturally fair but able to tan beautifully. I got my skin from my dad. We only burned.

Oddly, it wasn't until I was 21 years old and ended up in the hospital when I burned my eyelids so bad I couldn't open one eye it was swollen shut, that things changed. A guy I had recently met said "why do you do this to yourself? Your skin is so pretty. Fair skin is beautiful."

Something clicked when that one person complimented my skin. I had never once looked at it as a positive thing ever! I ended up becoming an insane sun-phobe from that time on, (like overnight), which was a problem in itself. I did everything I could do to cover my body in sunblock and wear hats everywhere. I was finally proud of my skin, but obsessing about it in a way that was also detrimental.

By the time I was 35 I looked 40. At 40 I literally looked 50. It was all that sun damage as a teenager. You can't get that back. You don't see the effects at that time, but it comes on later. My skin is a nightmare I damaged it so much as a kid and here I'm in my mid 50s with continuous "pre cancer" spots showing up and having to be removed. Giving myself peels has helped, but there's only so much one can do. The sun ruined my skin and even turning things around at 21 didn't reverse any long term damage. Cells were killed, never to heal.

Kids - don't do what I did. Fair skin IS beautiful and should be appreciated and treasured! Be sensible in the sun withouth being manic about it, and you'll be okay. Don't let others get you down. Be proud of your skin and if you take care of it, it will be gorgeous forever.

/r/unpopularopinion Thread