A mother has admitted to regularly spray tanning her four-year-old daughter to “boost her confidence”.
But child protection groups have hit out at the “horrifying” practice and warn that it is sexualising children.
Mother-of-four, Jools Willis, works as a beautician and insists that introducing her young children to beauty parlours is just helping them ease into adolescence.
Mrs Willis says she regularly gives treatments to her four children; Tate, four, her brother Chayce, six, and sister Darcie, ten.
The 37-year-old says she and her husband, Alex, who also have a teenage son, Zac, “eat, sleep and breathe the beauty industry and our children do as well”.
Claude Knights, Director of child protection charity Kidscape, said: “It is totally wrong to spray tan such young children. Spray tanning sexualises youngsters.
“Children should not be encouraged to grow up too soon. True confidence and self-esteem come from within, not from without.
“I’m sure mothers who do this mean the very best for their children. But they are inadvertently playing into the hands of paedophiles, who treat children as sexualised beings.”
Mrs Willis said: “Tate has the lowest level of fake tan. It helps her feel included with Darcie.
“She doesn’t have spray tan for cosmetic reasons. Darcie is a dancer and when she does shows the tan helps her under the stage lights. Beauty treatments help boost a child’s’ confidence.”
Four-year-old Tate said: “I like having a spray tan because it makes me look good. I like having the same as mummy and Darcie.”
Darcie said: “I like having my nails done and I like having a spray tan because I like going really brown. It makes me feel better.”
Mrs Willis says she gives Darcie spray tans because she wants “her to flourish”.
“I want her to be beautiful, to feel that she’s beautiful, I don’t want her to feel that she’s different from anybody else”, she said.
Mrs Willis will feature on Sky Living show Pamper Parlour Mums next Monday.
The beautician will appear alongside Michelle Devine, a former topless and lingerie model who now runs a beauty parlour for kids in Essex offering make-overs and facials for children as young as one.