Sean Cunningham for Backstage Beauty
If you have a pale skin tone that's between porcelain and bisque, this is your group. Most fair-skinned people are Caucasian, but they can also be light-skinned Asians and Latinas.
Fair skin can range from being extremely dry to very greasy, but the most common denominator is a susceptibility to irritation, sensitivity, and damage caused by UV exposure. The good news is that your relative lack of pigmentation means you have the easiest time scoring a uniform complexion. Even when your coloration is slightly off in places (from sun exposure, a breakout, a scratch, or whatever), getting back to normal usually doesn't take the amount of time and effort often required of people with deeper skin tones.
Start your routine off with a gentle cleanser suited for your skin type (dry, oily, or combo), but dermatologists emphasize that selecting moisturizers that'll help protect your fair skin from UV damage is key. During the day, use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen laced with antioxidants. At night, opt for a cream that contains alpha-hydroxy acids or retinol to help speed up cell turnover. Another must: Get an annual total-body check from a derm. In between, look for moles and bumps that change shape or color or that hurt.
Hate to break it to you, but you're the first to show signs of sun damage (wrinkles, dark splotches, roughness). To speed up the sloughing off of damaged surface skin and reveal the fresher, sexier layer underneath, check out one of the new at-home acid peels or microdermabrasion kits. A good buy: L'Oréal ReFinish Micro-Dermabrasion Kit, $25.
Your relative paleness also makes redness look more pronounced. If irritation is causing your skin to appear ruddy, try a "calming cream" containing chamomile or other soothing botanicals. Color-corrective concealers, foundations, and powders, often tinted a light green, can cancel out the red of pimples and broken blood vessels (your lack of natural UV protection makes you especially prone to these).