The immense biodiversity of human beings means that we have as many as ten different skin tones depending on one's ethnicity and genetic background. We have evolved to be a melting pot of four main races with subsets of more than 40 ethnicities. However, the question of which skin tone is most attractive still lingers around. This is not an easy dilemma to unravel considering that attractiveness is highly subjective and dependent on one's personal tastes and preferences. The most attractive skin tone, in this case, could be as varied as you and me. Still, thanks to our morbid curiosity, one still wonders what skin tone is the most attractive in terms of universal likability and pleasantness. Let's see.
Is Lighter Skin Tone More Attractive?
There's no denying that the world is obsessed with fairness to the point where lighter skin tones are generally perceived to be superior to others in the mainstream media. But is lighter skin tone more attractive than darker shades? Is pale skin tone attractive? And if not, why are skin lightening products, especially bleaching kits, so popular nowadays? Why are fair-skinned people exalted in almost all spheres of life? Here's a short anecdote.
As much as beauty supersedes skin colour, there's an irrefutable tendency for lighter skin tones being equated to the hallmark of attractiveness. So much that there exists social hierarchies, in countries such as India, that are primarily based on how light your skin is. This ancient Hindu classification, where the social stratum was determined by the paleness of your skin, meant that the darker your skin was, the lower your position in the caste system.
The top echelons in this misguided social hierarchy were the fairest of individuals and were considered to be intellectuals or equalled to demigods. The plushest jobs in the society, such as priesthood and academia, were reserved for them. On other hand, darker-skinned people were confined to the least desired of jobs such as manual labour and sweeping the streets.
That said, we cannot possibly ignore the fact that colonialism (especially by European powers on African/Asian colonies) perpetuated the fair skin bias greatly. The superiority complex that revolves around lighter skin was borne out of the idea that the colonial masters (the rulers) were fairer than the subjects. This led to the perception that the rich and rulers could stay indoors while the poor/subjects had to work under the blazing sun hence the darker skin tone. Skin tone, in this case, defined success, intellectual capability and ability to white-collar employment.
Globalisation in the post colonial era has not helped things either. Pale-skinned models are routinely displayed as the badge of attractiveness in countries and shopping malls where a majority of the local population have olive, brown or dark skin tones. These Western beauty ideals, in which fair skin is a big part of, continues to dominate in Africa, South America and Asia many years after the colonists left.
These ideals, as you would have expected, have created a demand for products tailored to service them. In Nigeria, for example, close to 77% of the West Africa nation's women confess to using skin-bleaching products in an attempt to look lighter than they really are. The same applies to Togo (59%) and South Africa (35%). However, the largest and fastest-growing markets for skin lightening creams and serum are in the greater Asia-Pacific region. In India, for instance, it is not uncommon for a typical supermarket to have an entire section dedicated to 'whitening' personal care products right from moisturizers, soaps, face washes to shaving balms, all from globally established brands.
You don't need to look very far to get a feel of how deeply-entrenched the fair-skin bias is in today's modern world. TV programmes, ads, and movies procedurally depict the most attractive skin tone by country as those where a large swathe of the population are lighter-skinned. Ads for skin-lightening creams, some of them containing potentially harmful or carcinogenic ingredients, are routinely endorsed by celebrities and plastered on billboards, print media and televisions.
Is Olive Skin Tone Attractive?
By olive skin tone we mean that moderate to light brown/tan skin with neutral undertones of golden, yellow or green. It's very common among people who hail from Latin America, Mediterranean, Middle-East and some parts of Asia-Pacific. There's some sort of sensual and unique earthiness that people with olive skin tone radiate to the extent that most tend to be of the opinion that a tan skin tone is so attractive. Maybe it is the mystical nature and somewhat timelessness that the natural golden bronze hue seems to exude.
That being said, there are several reasons olive people are considered to have the most attractive skin tone. For one, it is widely regarded to be the average skin tone among most races and ethnicities around the world. Unlike extremely dark or very pale skin, most people can subconsciously relate to a lightly tanned skin tone since it is just at the right threshold of the melanin metre. Most people are naturally drawn to what they are familiar with, something that further explains why olive skin tone is attractive.
Secondly, olive-skinned people tend to have a little more melanin-producing cells than fair-skinned individuals. Intrinsically, this implies that they tend to develop less wrinkles or fine lines and have a natural lesser risk of developing skin cancer. Besides, the warmer skin tone is regarded by many as an inherent sign of a healthy heart and a robust immune system.
So, is warm skin tone more attractive? Well, most of the time the yellow hues in a warmer skin tone are derived from the carotenoid pigments found in veggies and fruits which play an immense role in enhancing one's overall complexion from the inside out. This could be possibly why a tan skin tone is so attractive.
Factors that Affect your Overall Skin Tone, and How to Correct Them
Although your skin tone is deeply ingrained into your genetic makeup and largely dictated by factors such as diet, level of hydration, sleep quality etc, there are other factors that have a significant bearing on your skin color.
1. Sun Damage
As much as the sun can give you a tan and an attractive bronze glow, excessive sun exposure is just as detrimental to the long-term health of your skin as destructive habits such as smoking are. Overexposure to the sun's ruinous UV rays, for instance, can age your skin prematurely predisposing it to sun spots, blemishes and hyperpigmentation. Signs of a skin tone that the skin has wreaked havoc include leathery skin, liver spots and unproportional fine lines.
What's more, unprotected exposure to the sun's unforgiving rays can also precipitate an uneven skin tone. You can have pale-looking thighs, for instance, matched to dark/tan calves or upper arms. Nonetheless, you need to do more than just avoid going out to the sun unnecessarily to mitigate some of these unwanted complexion changes. Bear in mind that UV rays can still penetrate your clothes, windows and other barricades which you may assume to be effective at stopping them.
What you actually need to do is get into the habit of wearing sunscreen with an SPF factor of more than 30 on a daily basis as long as the sun is shining. Ideally, it should be a broad-spectrum sunscreen that can shield you from both UVB and UVA sun rays. Reapply it as many times as needed during late spring and at the height of the summer.
It's a well-known fact that testosterone affects the percentage of melanin in our skin and is also one of the controllable factors that determine our skin tone. Most of the time, a spike in testosterone is associated with warm skin undertones which is subconsciously decoded by our reptilian brains to be a signal of excellent health. Ever wondered why testosterone deficiency in older men is linked to white hair, paler skin and less voluminous eyebrows?
Fortunately, there is no shortage of testosterone supplements that you can use to boost your T-levels naturally.
Healthy Skin is Attractive: Here's How to Improve Your Complexion Naturally
Race or ethnicity aside, there's one truth that persists vehemently regardless of where you are in the world - healthy skin is the most attractive. Here's the thing; each country or society often has its own cultural and social-economic beauty standards. In other words, an attractive skin tone in one society or country may not necessarily be considered as desirable in another country. But even then, having a healthy glow puts you head and shoulders ahead of the rest.
So, how do you get attractive skin? By adding the best supplements healthy skin needs to your wellness regimen. And here are some of the most accessible natural supplements for healthy skin that you can find easily today.
1. Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid is a well-regarded antioxidant which comes in especially handy for people with lighter skin tones who are susceptible to sun damage. A recent study, for example, conducted by Oregon State University showed how vitamin C is capable of neutralizing and reversing the extremely harmful effects caused by the sun's UV rays. In short, taking vitamin C drops on a regular basis can go a long way in enhancing the overall effectiveness of your sunscreen lotion. Add to the fact that you can walk in the sun occasionally without worrying about developing unsightly blemishes and liver spots and you have an attractive warm skin tone to flaunt.
Also, vitamin C has been shown to aid in the skin regeneration process that helps the body repair sun damage, in addition to boosting the production of collagen. Collagen, in this case, gives your skin volume and structure while fading fine lines and making wrinkles less prominent.
Often overlooked, zinc is one of the most significant minerals when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy skin tone, particularly if you are prone to acne lesions. Apparently, zinc aids in speeding up the healing process after tissue injury or the rapture of the epidermis. What's more, it also shields the skin from progressive sun damage thanks to its natural ability to double up as an antioxidant. And this gives you the luxury of getting that elusive bronze tan during summer without worrying about your skin turning leathery later. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness, has also been found to help protect the skin from UV radiation, and it can be taken in supplement form. So get some zinc and melatonin drops today and stay at the top of your game.
3. Vitamin E
Tocopherol is one of those vitamin supplements healthy skin that work perfectly alongside ascorbic acid. It bolsters the photoprotection gained from vitamin C further by strengthening the epidermal cell walls allowing your complexion to weather the unrelenting UV rays from the sun better. In a way, this also enables you to get a tan every once in a while, at the same time, protecting your skin from sagging, wrinkles and cancer.
For even greater and more foolproof solar protection, consider selenium drops by Wellabs. In case you didn't know, this rare mineral is a natural antioxidant that counterbalances the damage sustained from free radicals and other environmental aggressors. As if this is not enough, selenium is also known to slow down the aging process, heals tissue damage caused by excessive solar exposure and aids in the moisturization of dry skin.
5. Beta Carotene
Beta carotene can enhance the healthiness of your skin by infusing a load of antioxidants that can shield your skin against the effects of UV radiation, although it is still recommended that you continue wearing sunscreen. Veggies and fruits with an orange, yellow and red color are extremely rich in beta carotene and they include the likes of carrots, potatoes, butternut squash and papaya. Vitamin A drops are also a good source of beta carotene.
Dermatologists also believe that a diet rich in beta carotene can thicken the epidermis while scattering your skin's natural pigment to improve your complexion.
6. Exfoliating Your Skin
Regular exfoliation can go a long way in keeping your face looking fresh and bright. That's the reason people who don't exfoliate regularly tend to have patchy and dull complexions as the topmost made of dead skin cells stifles your natural glow. However, by exfoliating the skin regularly, you inadvertently encourage new ones to grow in place of the damaged ones. That being said, using common body and face scrubs is not usually the best way of getting rid of dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants such as AHA and BHA are a better approach as they don't rub against your skin excessively which could precipitate breakouts.
In Closing - The Takeaway
The most attractive skin tone is a healthy complexion i.e one that is not damaged by the sun, does not have unsightly acne lesions and is reasonably firm and wrinkle-free. These are the markers of youthfulness, vigour and good genes regardless of where you are in the world. Actually, one of the easiest ways of ramping up your attractiveness is by taking meticulous care of your skin, hair and nails particularly as you get older and accumulate more epigenetic damage.