Even though we know that women in politics get more scrutiny of their looks, men are not exempt either. The man of the moment whose looks are being examined is House minority leader John Boehner. Even when the remarks are relatively positive, people just cannot stop talking about his tan. Often speculation about his skin color and its source are even more blatant.
Check out this montage of MSNBC coverage assembled by Politico:
His political opponents have even gone so far as to produce a widely-seen ad that sends the "founding fathers" to a tanning salon to look for him:
With all this discussion, I thought we should look at Boehner directly, in a CSPAN video of a recent speech in Ohio:
In this case, he doesn't look orange, which is the most frequent point of mockery. But his tan does bring his skin color really close to his hair color, and that low contrast is only emphasized by the high contrast between his black suit and white shirt and light tie.
Whenever you're doing makeup for television, you should remember that camera-ready products have a yellow base, because the camera reads skin tone in shades of red and blue. Self tanner, like some foundations, has a red base, so the camera reads the skin tone even redder, or essentially as orange. Self tanner works by creating a chemical reaction with the dead skin cells in the top layer of your skin. This is why you're warned to exfoliate first and avoid heels and elbows, which have thicker layers of dead cells - they would have more interaction with the tanning chemicals and come out darker. So self tanner is acting like makeup, creating a layer of color on top of the skin.
Tanning: Just don't do it.