'Jealous, fat, ugly people' are slandering me: US tanning mom

PHOTO: 'Jealous, fat, ugly people' are slandering me: US tanning mom

Her skin is a deep bronze colour from her regular visits to a tanning salon.

Now, a US woman in New Jersey has been accused of illegally taking her five-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.

It is illegal in New Jersey for anyone under 14 to use a tanning salon.

But the mother at the centre of the tanning controversy has fired back at her accusers.

Not only is Patricia Krentcil, 44, pleading not guilty to the charge of child endangerment, she is calling the accusation an outright lie.

“It’s all made up,” she said. She told AP that her daughter Anna got sunburned by being outside on a warm day recently.

But she did admit that her daughter had complained about itching and mentioned to school officials that she had been to a tanning salon with her mother.

Police told a local newspaper that they were called to the child’s school late last month because the kindergarten girl was in pain from a “pretty severe sunburn”.

Krentcil had told TV stations her daughter was in the room at the salon but not in the tanning booth.

Her lawyer said outside court that the evidence would show the child never entered the tanning booth and that his client would be exonerated.

Krentcil said she loves tanning and has visited salons for many years but would not do anything to jeopardise her daughter’s health.

UK daily The Sun reported that she visits tanning salon about 20 times a month.

She said: “Never in my life would I endanger my child by putting her in a tanning booth. I’m not dumb.”

Subject of a witch hunt, she claims

Krentcil claims that she is a subject of a witch hunt.

“There’s somebody out there who doesn’t like me because they are jealous, fat and they’re ugly,” she told a reporter.

But Krentcil’s case has stirred up interest in what some dermatologists have called “tanorexia” – a psychological dependence on tanning sessions to feel good.

The term itself has sometimes been used to jokingly describe Hollywood types who can’t step onto the red carpet without sporting a sun-kissed glow, whether it comes from a spray-on tan, the beach or a tanning bed, Los Angeles Times reported. Deadly addiction? But “tanorexic” is also used to describe a far more serious and potentially deadly condition – an addiction to tanning. So is Krentcil “tanorexic?” Dr Richard Glogau, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times that this much is clear: “She’s overdone it... She’s used up a lot of her skin’s ability to withstand UV rays. She’s drained the bank.”

Those who suffer from so called “tanorexia” feel more relaxed after sunbathing or a session in a sunbed, said Dr Sophie Balk, a paediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York.

She told NJ.com: “Some people even experience withdrawal symptoms... They may know it’s bad but they can’t cut back.”

Withdrawal symptoms witnessed in “chronically tanned people” can include depression and anxiety, she said.

Krentcil’s case is now raising awareness about the dangers of tanning beds, which use extended exposure to UVA and UVB radiation to darken the skin.

Extended UV radiation can cause skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology has warned.

But tanning-bed revenues topped US$2.6 billion (S$3.2 billion) in 2010, thanks to the more than 27million Americans who seek that sun-kissed glow at their local mall instead of at the beach.

This article was first published in The New Paper .