Generations of girls have fought their parents and teachers over the length of their skirts but the growing popularity of perma-tanned celebrities has thrown up a new battleground: how brown – or orange – their skin should be. Inspired by bronzed role models such as Girls Aloud, teenagers are slapping on more fake tan than ever before. So serious is the situation at Baines High School in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, that its acting headteacher has written to parents, advising them to control the tanning habits of their children.
"We ask for your support in ensuring that girls do not come to school looking varying shades of orange," Carol Robinson wrote.
The edict falls short of an outright ban and Ms Robinson acknowledged that it was healthier to slap on a tanning product than to sunbathe or use a sunbed and risk skin cancer.
Dr John Kellett, a Blackpool-based consultant dermatologist, also said it was safer for pupils to use fake tan. "If the alternative is for young girls to go on the sunbed, then it is preferable," he added.
There was support for the new guidelines among pupils. Alison Taylor, a 17-year-old sixth former, said: "I think it looks a lot nicer to be natural than bright orange."