Jessica Alba’s Company Receives Complaints of Ineffective Sunscreen
The Honest Co., co-founded by Jessica Alba, faces heated customer complaints as parents say they and their kids have gotten sunburned while using its Honest SPF 30 Sunscreen, posting pictures of their sunburns on social media and logging unsatisfactory reviews on Amazon since April.
The sunscreen lotion is listed as broad spectrum, natural mineral-based sun protection on the packaging, in addition to ultra-pure, water-resistant, hypoallergenic and containing no synthetic chemicals.
This isn’t the first time the lotion has received complaints. Last year, it was criticized for its texture and white residue. In an effort to appeal to the customers, the company reformulated the lotion in early 2015. In this new formula, the company decreased the amount of zinc oxide in the product from 20 percent to 9.3 percent, according to NBC Chicago. The industry standard sits between 18 to 25 percent. The company said it added other ingredients to keep the sunscreen effective despite the loss of zinc oxide.
Zinc oxide is one of 16 U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved active ingredients permitted in sunscreen. It provides both UVB and UVA protection and, in proper amounts, is a good option for people with sensitive skin and babies as it is less likely to irritate the skin.
The FDA considers sunscreen an over-the-counter drug, and as per its protocol, manufacturers are required to test their own products. In a statement the company released on "The Today Show," it states: “Our sunscreen lotion was tested, by an independent third party, against the protocols prescribed by the U.S. Food and 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.”
While it meets FDA regulations, people are still showing pictures of their burns to show the sunscreen is not protecting them from sun.
Packaging could play a part in the lotion’s ineffectiveness, according to Forbes. The sunscreen comes in a tube, which is less likely to be shaken than a bottle, despite the product’s “shake well” direction on the back. Should the tube not be shaken or left sitting in one place for too long, the active ingredient—zinc oxide—may concentrate in certain areas. Since there is less zinc oxide in the new formula, there would be less of it to be concentrated, potentially providing users less zinc oxide in the lotion they use at a given time.
The Honest Co. maintains the sunscreen’s safety and efficacy; it is not pulling the lotion from stores, but is providing one-on-one customer service for those who have complaints and concerns.