Why Do Guys Like Tanned Skin?

girls with tanned skin on the beach taking a selfie

Why do guys like tanned skin? Well, there is no easy answer to this question. There have been tons of studies done in the near past that have led to conflicting results. From what we currently know, not everyone finds tanned skin to be the epitome of beauty; likewise, not everyone has a preference for paler skin.

Note that there are social, psychological, and cultural implications that are linked to what people find attractive in others and that no one is going to collectively agree on the physical traits that make one attractive.

However, there are some possible explanations for why people might find tanned skin attractive. In this post, we will explore some of the potential reasons why people might find tanned skin attractive. We will also discuss whether or not there is any scientific evidence to support these claims.

Do Guys Find Tanned Skin Attractive?

Yes, some guys do find tanned skin attractive. A 1992 study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that men have a preference for women with tanned skin. In a similar study held in 2008, men noted that the darker the tan, the more attractive the woman.

Furthermore, there was a speculated link that tanned skin was believed to make the individual appear thinner. On this note, there seems to be a relation between a tan and the perceived health of the individual, with the added color seemingly relating back to the outdoors, fitness, and an active lifestyle.

While this may be written off as evolutionary psychology driving an individual to find a physically capable partner, it is also a common misconception. Truthfully, tans do not indicate anything about your health and are more often than not discouraged by dermatologists for their potentially dangerous consequences.

With indoor gyms within reach, a tan is a poor indicator of someone’s overall health (as is weight, though that topic is for another article). The point is, there’s much more to how healthy someone is than what they look like. That being said, what causes people to be attracted to tans?

From a broader standpoint, the culture and society one is exposed to can easily influence what physical traits they dictate as being attractive in a partner and in themselves. For example, in Japan and Korea, a pale complexion is often preferred because it is seen as more elegant than a tan. In the West, on the other hand, tans are viewed as attractive.

Do Girls Like Men With A Tan?

Yes, some girls do like men with a tan. The reasoning behind this is just about the same as why men find tanned women to be appealing: It is seen as an insight into one’s health and lifestyle. In general, those who have a healthy lifestyle are perceived to be more attractive than those who do not.

Furthermore, in the case of men, women believe that tans can also reveal whether or not their potential partner is adventurous, hard-working, or a risk-taker. Again, tans do not necessarily indicate these traits in an individual, and someone can display these traits without “looking the part.” 

Do Men Prefer Pale Girls?

This is also true: some men do prefer pale girls. The reason why some men prefer pale girls is because they are seen as more delicate and fragile. They are also seen as being more feminine. Some sociologists believe this is related to the archaic belief that lighter skin is associated with purity, virginity, and innocence. 

The connection between complexion and morals can be traced back to the Elizabethan Era (1558-1603), where Queen Elizabeth I, the trendsetter of the Tudor court and acclaimed virgin, flaunted a strikingly pale face thanks to lead-based cosmetics known as “Venetian Ceruse” to cover up pox scars.

From then on, pale skin became more than just a hint at one’s social class: it became an insight into their moral disposition. Favoritism of pale skin remained prevalent in the western world until the Roaring Twenties when Coco Chanel, who could afford vacationing in more tropical climates, returned with sun-kissed skin.

Then, tans became a sign of wealth and accessibility, unlike those who had to work in factories to scrap by. To this day, tanning is viewed as a sign of wealth. With the rise of social media and its constant flood of photos and selfies, having bronzed skin is seen as a mark of success.

Is Pale Or Tanned Skin More Attractive?

Both pale and tanned skin are attractive; there is no such thing as one being more attractive than another. Some folk find tans to be the hottest thing, other folk think that pale skin is. There is no way to measure which is “more attractive.”

That being said, while you may feel more attractive with a tan—or without one—it is entirely your own choice: do what makes you feel confident! Your physical appearance should be motivated by you, and you alone. Not outside forces.

What Skin Color Is The Most Attractive?

More often than not, skin with warmer undertones is viewed as more attractive as opposed to skin that has cooler undertones. Generally, the reasoning behind this is that warmer skin tones are, once more, believed to be a sign of good health. However, a deeper, “inner” glow is desirable across the board, regardless of skin color. 

The best way to get that coveted healthy glow is to start from within. Exercise, a healthy diet, and following a skincare routine are all essential for achieving and maintaining that natural glow. The key to looking good, no matter your skin color, is healthy skin.

As time has progressed, beauty standards have shifted to focus more on whether or not someone appears healthy—a trend that has been ongoing since 1987. Today, fitness culture is a billion-dollar industry with the rise of social media influencers who are known for their health and wellness routines.

Does Skin Color Matter In Love?

No, skin color does not matter in love. Love itself is a grand, wonderful thing—something special that two people—or, in the case of polyamorous individuals, multiple people share. Skin color is inconsequential in matters of love, intimacy, and otherwise romantic interest.

If skin color is just as important (or more) in the relationship, there is a problem. Sexual fetishes have developed that center around skin color, race, and ethnicity. This leads to obsessive behaviors regarding stereotypes and upholding them. More often than not, these fetishes are based on colorism and are massive relationship red flags.

Final Thoughts: Why Do Guys Like Tanned Skin?

With all of this information in mind, please don’t get into a relationship that appears to be solely motivated by skin color. More importantly, don’t change yourself to suit the tastes of other people. You’re likely perfect as you are, and if someone demands a change, then they are not for you.

Love should not be conditional—especially if it comes down to the color of your (or your partner’s) skin. As with all historical trends in the beauty world, whatever skin color is desired en masse now will eventually waver.

Moreso, just because a trend has gotten on does not negate your worth as an individual and what you have to offer in a relationship. Additionally, people aren’t hive-minds. Not everyone agrees with current beauty trends—and that’s okay. 

More than anything, both pale and tanned skin have been the beauty ideal at some point in time. There is nothing inherently “unattractive” about either. Keep true to yourself, and be wary of romantic options that seem hyper-focused on the current color of your skin. 

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By Cierra Tolentino

Cierra Tolentino is a beauty writer at Kintegra Research. She loves keeping people up-to-date with the latest beauty trends in skincare, hair care, and makeup. Finding answers to tough questions is her thing. When she has free time you can find her chasing down a clumsy toddler and obsessively drinking tea.