On Tuesday, Patricia Krentcil told CBS New York that the whole incident was a big misunderstanding. Krentcil, 44, loves to tan, and has done so her whole life.
“I’ve been tanning my whole life, going to the beach, tanning salons and so forth,” she said.
While the mother of five has that habit, she’s adamant she would never tan her 6-year-old, fair-skinned daughter Anna.
“No not at all, not at all, not whatsoever,” Krentcil said.
But that’s exactly why Nutley police arrested and charged Krentcil with child endangerment. She allegedly took Anna to a tanning salon and into a tanning booth which caused a slight burn.
Krentcil said when the school nurse asked her daughter how she got burned, she simply said, ‘I go tanning with mommy.’ However, the woman said her daughter’s burn was not from getting into a tanning bed but from being outside and playing in the backyard.
“There’s not room (in the booth)…I would never permit it…It didn’t happen,” Krentcil said. “She’s 6-years-old. Yes, she does go tanning with mommy but not in the booth,” she claimed.
“The whole thing’s preposterous!” she said.
New Jersey law prohibits anyone under the age of 14 from using tanning salons.
Krentcil posted $2,500 bond and was released to authorities in Camden County.similar to that of smokers and alcoholics while also risking serious medical problems
Chicago’s popular TV show Windy City Live discussed this new term “tanorexia” used to recognize tanning addictions. A New York dermatologist Doris Day says she looks like someone with the condition “tanerexia” where they don’t realize just how much color they have, New York dermatologist Doris Day said. “She's at higher risk for skin cancer, and it also doesn't send the right message to her child.” Serious cases of tanorexia can be considered dangerous because of the prolonged exposure to UV radiation that can lead to skin cancer
Patricia Krentcil, 44, pleaded not guilty to charges that she endangered her 5-year-old daughter Anna by taking her to a tanning salon. She said her daughter got sunburn from working in the garden.
"As you can see I'm very tan, and I've been tanning my whole life,' said Krentcil.
She didn't show any signs of concern to the warnings about tanning that are given by dermatologists like Dr. Jennifer Choi at Yale New Haven Hospital.
"Some studies have suggested that tanning booths can actually emit 12 times more of ultraviolet radiation that you will ever get from the natural sun. We don't know which one is necessarily worse," said Dr. Choi.
Dr. Choi stresses that both are directly linked to melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.
"Basically tanning can become an addiction, to the point where people will do this and not realize what they look like or they know what they look like and actually think it looks good," said Dr. Choi.
Krentcil denies she took her daughter into the tanning booth, but says she, herself, tans five days a week, and may be addicted.
Krentcil’s appearance is shocking to some, but not so shocking to staff at Sun Kissed Tanning in Wauwatosa. “I know people that are way too dark, that shouldn’t be coming in,” Ashley Moeller said.
Moeller says tanning addiction is real. She’s seen a handful of customers who don’t realize they’ve taken their habit too far. “When you tell people they’re really tan, they don’t really think they are. They see a completely different person,” Moeller said.
Krentcil’s appearance is alarming to doctor Kathleen Stokes, with Affiliated Dermatologists. Stokes had read studies on tanning addiction and has seen patients in Wauwatosa who may fit the definition.
“My patients are usually very well-informed. Some of them have already had skin cancer and they continue to tan, and that’s the definition of addiction – continuing to do a behavior that you know has ill effects, and you continue to do it,” Stokes said.
Stokes says studies show tanning can lead to feelings of pleasure, much like other addictive habits. “The cerebral blood flow in patients who tan excessively is the same as other addictions, like drugs and alcohol,” Stokes said.
Stokes recommends her patients never tan. At Sun Kissed Tanning, every new customer must read about the dangers and sign a waiver. “People can do whatever they want. It’s a free country. If they want to go tanning, they can go tanning,” Moeller said.
Krentcil’s husband, Rich, is defending his wife. He insists his wife is a good mother who is being wrongly accused and unfairly judged.
“She enjoys tanning and I just think that’s a thing that she does, but I agree, this is being judged right away when the real truth will come out,” Rich Krentcil said.
Rich Krentcil says Patricia would go tanning every other day, for 12 minute sessions. The tanning salon owner has revoked Patricia’s membership and is refunding her money.