Catherine Scott: How Love Island and TOWIE are fuelling our teens’ obsession with fake tan

TV shows like Love Island are helping to fuel an increase in the use of fake tan
TV shows like Love Island are helping to fuel an increase in the use of fake tan
Have your say

First it was loom bands, then it was slime and now it is fake tan. Those of you with teen or pre-teen girls (and boys) will know the scourge of the fake tan to which I refer.

Our bath and bedsheets are no longer white, they are all a rather nasty shade of yellow, which no amount of scrubbing seems to diminish.

It isn’t for going out to parties, where the skimpiness of the dresses needs a good dose of fake and bake to get rid of the day-glo limbs of winter.

Now it seems every sleepover seems to end in all girls ending up looking like they have been Tangoed.

I blame the obsession with taking selfies and the endless search for the perfect picture to post on Instagram, Snapchat or whatever social media site is in vogue.

The likes of Love Island and TOWIE, with their plethora of bronzed bodies also has a part to play in fuelling this craze which now infects our young (and not so young).

Even PE lessons now have to be prepared for with lashings of fake tan. Teachers must be sick and tired of orange-skinned teens running around the gym or sports pitch.

I suppose there isn’t really anything entirely new about our desire for a bronzed body.

I have to confess to the odd sunbed when I was at university, although I don’t think I cared too much about the shade of my legs when I was 13.

At least the use of fake tan is safer than the dreaded sunbed, and even the sun’s rays itself.

Although there is some concern among medics that people applying fake tan may be mistaken for thinking their skin is protected from the harmful effects of the sun.

Fake tan has at least progressed from the days where application made you look like a caramel ripple ice cream and smell like Marmite.

Used in moderation, today’s products are incredibly realistic, but moderation is the key word and, when it comes to young teens, moderation isn’t always at the top of their vocabulary list.

I picked my youngest up from a sleepover the other day to be greeted by a child who looked like she had spent six-months on a beach in the Bahamas. It was March in Leeds and therefore stood out rather obviously.

What there now needs to be is a product that makes it easy to remove said fake tan from clothes, bedding, baths, door knobs and just about everything it comes into contact with.

I never thought I would miss the days of Loom bands and slime, but fake tan has made me nostalgic for those more innocent days.

I just dread to think what the next craze in my teens’ development is going to be.