Jessie Swan, a mother in Australia, took to social media to warn other parents of her child’s adverse reaction to sunscreen. The sunscreen was the Cancer Council’s Peppa Pig Sunscreen with SPF50+, according to Daily Mail, and the child reportedly spent three days and two nights in the hospital for treatment of a rash/burn that resulted from using the sunscreen.
Swan’s son is just three months old and she insists that the baby was not in direct sunlight, but because they were outside she decided to use the sunscreen. She posted her complaint and distressing pictures of her son covered in the rash on the Cancer Council’s Facebook page. The post has been shared more than 10,000 times.
The Cancer Council’s response to the complaint was handled with a released statement:
We take the safety and effectiveness of our sunscreens very seriously and respond to all feedback regarding our products. Yesterday we were saddened to learn via Facebook that a young child had a negative experience with our SPF50+ Kids Sunscreen. We take any concern raised about our products very seriously and have been in direct contact with the boy’s mother, Jessie, to investigate this further.
We investigate all feedback regarding our sunscreen products individually. On some occasions, we conclude that there has been an allergic or chemical reaction to particular, but different, ingredients in the product – this is why we always recommend doing a small patch test before applying any sunscreen to yourself or other family members.
Sunscreens in Australia are strictly regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). All Cancer Council sunscreens and their ingredients are fully compliant with these regulations and all of our sunscreens are independently tested to ensure they exceed the SPF level advised on the bottle.
Additionally, all products formulated for sensitive skin, including our SPF50+ Kids Sunscreen, are dermatologically tested to ensure that they pass the Repeat Insult Patch Test (RIPT), a recognized formal skin sensitivity test for topically applied products. If you have sensitive skin, doing a personal patch test is even more important.“
The company also noted that the product is not new to the market and has sold over 250,000 bottles. They noted only “a very small number of complaints regarding this product, some of which related to issues with the function of the pump spray, not the sunscreen itself.”
Another consumer, current Mrs. Universe Kim Cancellier, recently shared of her bad experience with the Peppa Pig Sunscreen:
[Cancellier] decided to test the product on her own skin before using it on her two young daughters… “Instead of acting as a sunscreen and protecting me from the sun’s rays it had the opposite effect and turned me bright red… I am burnt to the point my body feels like it’s on fire. I can barely move and every small touch causes nothing but agony… I’m 31 and if I’m in this much pain then I can’t even begin to imagine the pain a child would be in.”
She was diagnosed with
first and second degree chemical burns on her stomach and chest. Ms. Cancellier took photographs of her skin at intervals during her recovery that show large flakes peeling off, leaving raw fresh skin underneath exposed. Four weeks on from the incident and Ms. Cancellier’s skin still has not recovered fully.
In addition to the pain, the beauty queen also had to cancel many of her scheduled appearances because she had to avoid the sun. “It was hard as one of my jobs is to model so for the past month I’ve turned down a lot of photo work, haven’t done any TV work or made my contracted appearances with my title.”
The Cancer Council was “quick to respond to her complaint and took the product back for testing. The charity also offered to cover her medical expenses.”
You can keep your children safe from this type of injury by following the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations (and the labels on most sunscreen bottles) and not applying the product to any children under six months old. Keep kids this young away from direct sunlight and dress them “in protective clothing, a hat with a brim and sunglasses.”
Kids will also benefit if parents apply a small amount to an area of children’s skins before lathering them head-to-toe to ensure their skin does not have a reaction. My son and I both have sensitive skin and I know we will be adding a testing step to our sunscreen wearing routine.