Question: Why do I always look so white and pale in photographs?


If you look extra pale or ghastly in photographs, your makeup or sunscreen could be the culprit.

Mineral makeup, along with some non-mineral makeups, contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These ingredients reflect light, making you look paler, especially in pictures taken with flash. UV filters in sunscreen work the same way and also reflect or deflect light, making your face look whiter than your neck.

There really isn’t a surefire way to reduce this effect. Using powder or tinted makeup over sunscreen could help somewhat, but if you know you are going to be photographed for a big day, it’s a good idea to skip your sunscreen.

Or, you could try using chemical sunscreens to see if they still make your face look paler than your neck in pictures. UV filters in chemical sunscreens tend to absorb light versus reflect light, unlike the active ingredients in physical sunscreens.

Wearing makeup without SPF will also help prevent you from looking white and pale in photographs.

Last updated: September 27, 2012

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