The highly anticipated nude photographs of Lindsay Lohan taken for Playboy magazine earlier this year were leaked on the Internet late last week.

Although the issue was not supposed to hit newsstands until later this month, Hugh Hefner announced Friday that Playboy will be releasing the January/February issue sometime this week. Playboy reportedly paid Lohan $1 million for the 11-photo spread.

The leaked photographs have kept the public's attention over the weekend, but it remains unclear how, and if, Lohan's pictures will help or hurt her career. The 25-year-old starlet has come under intense media scrutiny following two DUI incidents and a rocky personal life leading to her most recent prison sentence in November.  

Lohan told Playboy during the nude shoot that she has learned from her mistakes.

Looking back, I probably would have listened to and taken more advice from the people whom I admire and would have followed through with it more, Lohan said.

My stubbornness at 18 and 19 years old got in the way, she said. During the past five years, I've learned that time flies faster than you think, and because you only live once you have to learn from your mistakes, live your dreams and be accountable.

Despite Lohan's seeming willingness to repent, the Playboy photographs could be a blessing or mark the end of her career.

When Lohan posed nude for New York magazine in 2008 in a famous series that channeled Marilyn Monroe, the photographs did not boost her career. New York Magazine did see an enormous jump - over 2,000 percent - in online traffic, but Lohan was mostly criticized.

Following the shoot, she was called a skank and critics said she was desperate for attention.  She did the shoot for free and was not paid for her role in the photo series. While she remained in the public eye for the pictures, her image became increasingly negative and reinforced the party girl lifestyle she had developed over the years.

However, many actresses have gained publicity and earned top roles after they revealed all for Playboy magazine.

When Kim Basinger posed for the cover of Playboy following her stunt as a Bond girl she earned enough publicity to gain a supporting actress role in The Natural, which won her a Golden Globe nomination. Later, she won an Oscar for playing a prostitute in L.A. Confidential.

LaToya Jackson also benefited from her Playboy shoot in March 1989. She was turned into a sex symbol over night and was officially seen as separated from her parents and conservative upbringing.

Most notably, Drew Barrymore turned around her career after posing in Playboy in 1995. Barrymore had had a successful child acting career, but fell into a rebellious period in her teenage years, notoriously smoking cigarettes when she was 9 and drinking by the time she was 10. Following her Playboy shoot, she returned to the limelight and has starred in a number of good girl roles since baring all for the magazine.

Other stars were not as lucky.

Shannen Doherty, an actress on Beverly Hills 90210, posed for Playboy twice, in 1994 and in 2003. Despite her willingness to bare all, the actress gained little notoriety from the shoot and has no earned more respectable roles.

Similarly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Charisma Carpenter posed for Playboy following the show's end. She did not garner the public's attention with her nude photographs, but has since gained small guest spots and roles in other television shows, like Supernatural.  

Only time will tell whether the Playboy nude photographs will help or hurt Lohan's career, but the once brilliant actress of Parent Trap and Mean Girls may need more than a few highly photoshopped shots to jump start her career. Will she follow in the footsteps of Drew Barrymore or be destined to disappear like Shannen Doherty?

If you are looking for the nude Playboy pictures of Lohan,  you can see them here, but, as you can imagine, they are not safe for work.