Popular Swedish retailer H&M seems to have been inspired by the controversial "tanorexic" mum Patricia Krentcil as the brand releases its new swimsuit campaign images featuring heavily tanned models.
The campaign, which features Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana has been slammed by cancer experts for promoting the concept of tanorexia among the masses.
The advertising images showcase Fontana in a series of swimwear creations from the label's newest summer collection.
The Daily Mail said it was unclear whether she is wearing fake tan in the ads or whether she has achieved the deep tan from lying in the sun.
The term tanorexia is often used to describe a condition in which a person participates in excessive outdoor sun tanning or excessive use of other skin tanning methods like tanning beds to achieve a darker skin complexion because they perceive themselves as unacceptably pale. The syndrome is different from tanning addiction, although both may fit into the same syndrome and can be considered a subset of tanning addiction.
Studies have indicated that people who regularly tan by either exposing themselves to the ultraviolet rays of the sun or by using a tanning booth increase their risk of developing skin cancer. Even after knowing the side-effects, many people continue to expose themselves to such radiations.
Earlier, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found evidence that repetitive tanning behaviour may be the product of a kind of addiction. Just like alcoholism and drug dependency, people continue to sunbathe and patronise tanning salons despite being aware that the practice is dangerous.
The new H&M advertisement has posed serious concerns among cancer researchers and dermatologists as they believe that such ads promote the concept of skin tanning.
"Many people, especially young, will [try] to emulate this and will try to be just as brown, even though their [skin] type is not possible," 20 Minuten quoted Dr Ralph Braun, a dermatologist and professor at University Hospital Zürich saying.
Following the speculation and outrage, the retail brand apologised on 10 May, 2012 for using the deeply tanned models.