Sunburnt skin becomes the norm – archive, 1925
People used to be warned against the deleterious effects of sunburn. To look sunburnt, it was stated, was not necessarily to be well. Sunburnt girls were excused but not admired, and a lily white complexion held its own supremely. There came a day when sunburn became merely fashionable. It was indicative of sport, of budding Lenglens, of skiing. People who could not accomplish it by these means, cultivated it at home, and Paris mannequins had to look sunburnt if they would retain their job.
It is not now fashionable to be sunburnt. Rather it is old-fashioned and peculiar to be anything else. The hatless fashions have burned the hair-parting brown and the arms and necks, even of fair people, are now exposed to the sun on all occasions. Children look dark brown against their summer frocks. Grownups have followed suit and skins of all kinds have taken on an amount of colouring which, on the whole, is far more becoming to the majority than what used to be known merely as a complexion.
To see a sunshade nowadays is the exception in all the European resorts, and those who carry them either belong to a past generation or are using them merely as a colour accessory to dress. Sunshades, moreover, are most of them so small as to be of very little use for real protection against the sun. Even ten years ago it would have been thought impossible by most women to go without any protection for the face, and still more for the back of the neck. Nowadays exposure all the year round has made most women’s skins thoroughly healthy and has improved enormously those who were not blessed with lilies and roses or with tints that suggested the ripe apricot. Sunburn is not only recognised as medically desirable; it has become normal.