Is "Tanning Mom" an Addict?
A child endangerment case in New Jersey sheds light on "tanorexia."
Is New Jersey "tanning mom" addicted to UV rays? And is her alleged "tanorexia" evidence towards allegations that she dangerously subjected her child to a tanning bed? Child services visited Patricia Krentcil after her five-year-old daughter told the school nurse that the rash on her body was from visiting a tanning booth with her mom. Photos of the “tanning mom” have surfaced in the media—showing skin the color and texture of fruit leather—and causing concern that she may be suffering from a tanning addiction. "When you look at this, this is somebody who has a problem who most likely has a condition called 'tanorexia,' where they just don't realize just how much color they have," says New York dermatologist Doris Day. "She's at higher risk for skin cancer, and it also doesn't send the right message to her child." The owner of the New Jersey tanning salon City Tropics says Krentcil tans about 20 times per month, five days per week, and does the maximum time of 12 minutes in the standup booth—which is the most intense bed. Krentcil, who was charged with child endangerment, claims she is innocent, and that her daughter never entered the booth with her. "Obviously, she tans," says her attorney John Caruso, but "to call her an addict, I think is a real leap. It feels like it's being exaggerated, to be like, 'Well look at her, she must have done this.'" If convicted, she faces up to ten years in prison.