Pale and proud

Philip Seymour Hoffman as "Capote"

Author Truman Capote had his vices, but sun tanning was not one of them.

Truman Capote thrived on innovation. Previously, authors like Ernest Hemingway showed no reluctance to getting epic amounts of sun. Truman Capote, the eccentric writer who revolutionized the literary world with his true crime novel, "In Cold Blood," was a drinker and a smoker, but his sins did not include excessive sun. Philip Seymour Hoffman expertly captures not just the voice and mannerisms of Capote, but fearlessly depicts his fair skin as well. In an age where the bronzed look just won't fade away, Hoffman's honestly tan-free skin promises a career with a reduced risk of wrinkles, sun spots, and skin cancer.

Recent reports have generated controversy about sun avoidance. Vitamin D, necessary for strong bones, can be produced by skin irradiated by the sun. Some researchers claim that a short time laying out should be endured to insure adequate body levels of vitamin D. We at don't agree. If one has little skin pigment, even a small amount of exposure can result in sun damage.

Since the UVA "tanning" rays have been shown to increase the risk of wrinkling and melanoma, we agree with the American Academy of Dermatology's recent policy statement: Since Vitamin D is also available in foods such as milk, fortified OJ, & certain types of fish, or can be taken as a supplement, those concerned can get their D from Diet rather than Damaging rays. Don't play radiation roulette: if you're fair as Hoffman, stay glam, avoid the tan.

Runners up, pale and proud:
Rachel McAdams, "The Family Stone"
Ziyi Zhang "Memoirs of a Geisha"
Tilda Swinton, "Narnia"

© 1996-2008 Vail Reese M.D.

Dr. Reese's office