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Meet the 12-year-old spray tan addict who hasn’t gone a day without applying fake tan in the past two years |

Meet the 12-year-old spray tan addict who hasn’t gone a day without applying fake tan in the past two years

STANDING in the tanning booth, Ebony Whalley scrunches her eyes as the beautician covers her with brown dye.

The spray feels cold on her skin but she is used to this — she gets it done every week.


12-year-old Ebony Whalley has been hooked on fake tanning for the past two years

Addicted to a bronzed look, Ebony carries a bottle of fake tan everywhere she goes, in case it wears off.

And for the past two years, she has not gone longer than 24 hours without applying it.

This may seem like the life of an image-obsessed Towie star but what makes Ebony’s addiction shocking is that she is just 12 years old.

Mum Bex let Ebony have her first professional spray tan aged 10, in preparation for a christening

She had her first professional spray tan at age ten and since then has been hooked — after her mum passed on her obsession.

Bex, 32, says: “I understand why my daughter likes tanning — she’s naturally pretty but looks a lot healthier with fake tan.

“We are both ghostly white without it.

“Ebony definitely gets more attention from boys with a tan.

“Parents criticise me but it’s true.”

Single Bex, a personal assistant, who is also mum to Lola, two and ten-month-old Deliah, has been fake-tanning for 12 years — and insists there is nothing wrong with Ebony copying her.

32-year-old Bex has been fake tanning for 12 years


She says: “I hated being pale.

“Having a golden tan is in fashion so why not make skin browner?

“Ebony is only young but I don’t see a problem with teaching her that looks are important.

“When you get older, everyone judges you on looks — and it’s the same when you are young.”

Bex says: “I spend £200 a month on us both staying brown.

“I use the darkest shade of St Tropez tan while Ebony uses the second-darkest.

Bex says although Ebony is naturally pretty, she looks better bronzed and gets more attention from boys

Recalling how Ebony’s habit began, Bex says: “When she was ten we went to a christening and I’d had a spray tan.

“She said, ‘Mum, can I have a spray tan like you?’

“It never crossed my mind to say no.

“I took her in the next week.

“The salon staff did seem a bit ­surprised but when I gave consent, they agreed.”

Ever since, the pair have fake-tanned together nearly every day.

Any sign of a pale patch leaves them anxious.

Bex, from Birmingham, says: “We won’t leave the house without a bottle of fake tan, in case we need a top-up.

These days Ebony won’t even leave the house without a bottle of fake tan in case she needs a top up

“If we’re not really brown we both refuse to have our ­picture taken.

“Ebony won’t leave for school if she feels pale, so we put a layer on in the morning.”

Bex added: “Parents at school tell me Ebony looks too old for her age and it isn’t healthy for her to be that self-conscious.

“But I don’t listen to them, she’s my child and it’s her choice.

“She’s picked up the obsession from me and I know it might damage her in future, as fake tan dries out skin and clogs pores.

Ebony and Bex Whalley
A woman reveals on This Morning that she puts fake tan on her 3 year old

“But it could be worse — we could be addicted to tanning injections or sunbeds.”

Bex recently started ­paying a make-up ­artist weekly for her and Ebony.

She says: “Ebony loves the reality TV star Charlotte Crosby, and we both like to do our make-up to look like a reality TV star.

“It makes us both look so glam and Bex looks so much older with it on.

“I have no problem with her experimenting.”

Ebony’s favourite reality TV star is Charlotte Crosby

Bex started off using sunbeds 20 years ago but became concerned by the health warnings.

She says: “I used to go on the beds for 13 minutes, four times a week, but stories came out about it causing cancer.

“Ever since, I’ve been getting through several bottles of tan a week.

“I used to do it myself but it would be really uneven so I started getting professional spray tans and it changed my life.

Ebony and Bex says they also do their make-up to look like reality TV stars

“I top them up with fake and feel ugly and naked without it.”

But Bex admits fake-tanning has wrecked her love life.

She says: “Every guy I’ve been with tells me it smells of biscuits and it ruins the bed linen.

“Most used to tell me to take it off before getting into bed, but I didn’t dream of letting them see me without it.

Single mum Bex admits tanning has taken its toll on her love life, as men say it ruins the bed linen

“After a spray tan, I have to be careful with my youngest two children because if I pick them up and get tan on them, it can aggravate their skin.”

But Bex insists she will never give up fake tan, or ask her daughter to quit.

She says: “I don’t care what people think.

“Tanning makes us happy and most people who slag us off are just jealous because they’re pale and miserable.”

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