Jessica Alba’s Company Responds To Complaints About Sunscreen

Some customers are angry over a celebrity sunscreen they say is ineffective — but the company says its product works if used as directed.

Honest Company, co-founded by the actress Jessica Alba, makes an SPF-30 sunscreen that some users say has left them and their loved ones badly burned, according to Today. (“SPF-30” refers to the sun protection factor of the sunscreen.)

Many have taken to the Internet to express their displeasure.

The complaints started gaining traction, Buzzfeed notes, after NBC Chicago spoke with Gretta Stabler, a woman in Naperville, Illinois.

Stabler said she applied the sunscreen to her 6-year-old daughter 20 minutes before going out in the sun.

“She got really burned on her arms, shoulders, legs face, pretty much everywhere,” Stabler told NBC Chicago. “I was angry.”

NBC Chicago reports that since April, there have been more than 200 online complaints about the sunscreen, which, according to the product’s description, “provides broad spectrum sun protection without using any synthetic chemicals.” 

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company has drawn complaints from customers who say its sunscreen left them with nasty burns. | Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press

Honest Company defended its product in a statement to The Huffington Post:

The Honest Company is committed to providing safe and effective products, and we take all consumer feedback very seriously. Our Sunscreen Lotion was tested, by an independent 3rd party, against the protocols prescribed by the U.S. Food Drug Administration’s (FDA) monograph for over-the-counter sunscreen products. The results showed that our product is effective and safe for use as an 80 minute water-resistant (FDA’s highest rating), SPF 30 sunscreen lotion in accordance with FDA regulations when used as directed (Shake Well. Apply liberally and evenly 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying and at least every 2 hours). The number of complaints received on our own website about our Sunscreen Lotion constitute less than one half of one percent of all units actually sold at honest.com. We stand behind the safety and efficacy of this product.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said he couldn’t comment specifically on Honest Company’s sunscreen. But he did tell HuffPost that just because a sunscreen gets a certain SPF rating in a lab test, that doesn’t guarantee its real-life effectiveness.

“There are many different absorption patterns that can allow a sunscreen to pass this test,” Zeichner said. “The quality of protection may vary from product to product, even though they’re all labeled as broad-spectrum.”

Consider a suit of white linen and a suit of metal armor, he said.

“Both of them may be labeled as broad-spectrum, and both give you protection from the sun,” Zeichner said. “But the armor will give you a higher quality of protection.”

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