A storm of criticism followed the MTV show's premiere, which led to several high-profile sponsors withdrawing commercials from the series, while the Parents Television Council (PTC) called for a federal investigation into whether the show breached child pornography laws.
The cast of the show, most of whom are under 18, appear in the fashion magazine in underwear, with one shot including 15-year-old Eleanor Zichy in a bra and shorts.
Responding to the shoot, Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC, said: "We had concerns about the GQ photo shoot of Glee, even though [that cast] was over the age of 19, because they were presenting themselves as high schoolers.
"With this, even though the poses are less provocative, the fact that they have these underage girls wearing lingerie is troubling."
Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers dismissed the criticism, saying: "The content of Skins is infinitely more racy than anything we'd have them do. And we had the blessing of their parents. They were at the shoot."