Take sunscreen, for instance; it turns out that one popular brand of this U/V blocking cream may actually be giving young kids what look like second-degree chemical burns.
Recently, there has been about ten reported cases of children becoming ‘burned’ after applying Banana Boat Canada’s line of baby sunscreen. The story first gained traction after several mothers began posting heartbreaking images of their infants with sores, blisters, and red patches on their faces.
In response to these reported cases, Banana Boat Canada put forth this official statement:
[Banana Boat’s sunscreens] fall within a neutral PH range, which means they are safe for human skin, topical use, and cannot cause chemical burns.
With the company trying their best to rid themselves of any wrongdoing, the question remains: ‘Why have these ten cases popped up in the first place’?
The organization Health Canada is currently investigating these claims, but they are quick to note that these adverse reactions could have been brought on by “other factors,” including “a person’s health conditions or other health products they are using at the same time.”
Dr. Cheryl Rosen, a dermatologist with Toronto Western Hospital, agrees with the public health agency. She tells CBC that, based off of the pictures of the reactions, it’s more likely that these patients are suffering from “contact dermatitis, either an irritant from something that’s in the product, or an actual allergy to something that’s in the product.”
The skin expert goes on to say that, due to these particular existing conditions, the symptoms might look similar to a second-degree burn.
Nevertheless, we completely understand why mothers are taking to social media to spread word about their children’s conditions—we wouldn’t want another child to have to endure this pain either!
How to make safe sunscreen choices
While Dr. Rosen admits that these reactions were severe, she emphasizes that “the benefit [of wearing sunscreen] far outweighs the risk.” She goes onto say that “for most people, the chemicals in sunscreen are completely safe.” Obviously, you don’t want a story like this to make you skittish about applying the skin-saving cream.
When trying out a new sunscreen, the dermatologist suggests performing a ‘patch test’, wherein the user dabs just a small amount of product in a discreet area, before slathering the cream on the entire body. If you or your child experiences irritation in the testing area, then contact your dermatologist immediately for a more in-depth allergy evaluation.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that, even those who have these issues still have a range of U/V blocking options to choose from. DermNet New Zealand reports that metal oxide sunscreens are usually suitable for those with sensitive skin.
To learn more about this puzzling case, be sure to check out the video below. It’s definitely something important to keep in mind as we move into those sunny summer months!