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May 3, 2012:
Photos of woman arrested for bringing daughter into tanning booth create new controversy about tanorexia, based on her appearance.


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What is Tanorexia? Do you show the symptoms

New term enters pop culture.

Tanorexia is a popular new term related to the practice of excessive tanning or the use of spray tan salons. It is either defined by having highly browned skin from UV tanning booths, or orange skin from creams and spray salons. Jersey Shore star Snooki would likely be defined as tanorexic by the general public. In culture, tanorexia could be seen as source of mockery and may create the impression that the tanorexic either has become addicted to tanning or is painfully unaware of how the practice of tanning has altered his or her appearance. In the same way that plastic surgery and augmentations may leave people with a doll-like look, tanorexia would present a person who looks like a "catcher's mitt" and may have leather-like appearances. Over time, UV tanning would lead to increased danger of skin cancer, and the use of tanning creams and spray tanning could potentially be introducing the skin to harmful substances or new allergens, though most tanning cosmetics are ostensibly approved for use by the FDA. Tanorexia could also be a symptom of an underlying psychological need, either for the light inside the booths, attention, or a pathological need to experience the social and ritual aspects of the tanning process itself, since going to such a salon brings attention, accepance (at the salon) and friendly treatment that may be lacking in other parts of the tanorexic's life.

In May of 2012, Patricia Krentcil became known as the "tanning mom" after bringing her five year old daughter into a tanning salon. The daughter later was reported to have a sunburn, which may or may not be associated with her presence in the salon, and Krentcil has been charged with felony child endangerment and could face 10 years in prison. The interesting side of the news is Krentcil's appearance, which apparently displays a heavy amount of tanning that is being classified in the media as tanorexia. The term itself has actually been in the news for several years and associated primarily with women who are addicted to tanning. Some articles indicate that the addiction may come from emulating parental behaviors such as a parent's frequent trips to a tanning salon, beach, or spa. There may also be cues where parents tell their children to go and get some "color."In any event, tanorexia as a condition, whether it is a real illness or not, is sure to be part of the 2012 lexicon as more people in the news are seen with this condition, or as people follow the legal troubles of the Tanning Mom.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Excessive tanning or the use of tanning boots, spray tans, and lotions may have negative effects on the skin as well as your popularity.