A Mother Is Claiming Her Baby Got Second-Degree Burns From a Popular SPF 50 Sunscreen, But Dermatologists Don't Exactly Agree

We trust sunscreen to shield our skin from damage, so when reports surface of the protectant doing the complete opposite—causing terrible damage to skin when applied—it’s no wonder why users take to social media to warn their fellow consumers. So when the damage is done on innocent babies, the concern—and brand backlash—is heightened by about a million.

Rebecca Cannon claims Banana Boat’s SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Kid’s Sunscreen left her 14-month-old child, Kyla, with severe second-degree burns. Cannon explained to CBS News in Canada that she knew she should be using baby sunscreen on Kyla, but she didn’t have any on hand at the moment, and figured any protection was better than no protection. “As the day went on, she got a little redder and redder and the next morning, she woke up and was swollen, she was bright red, there were blisters starting to pop up,” Cannon said, adding that her three-year-old nephew used the brand’s adult sunscreen that day, but Kyla was the only one who experienced any reaction.

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After taking her daughter to her doctor, where she found out the burns were second-degree, he told her of other cases of burns caused by sunscreen, and explained it was possible that the redness, blistering and swelling were a result of a severe allergic reaction to the sunscreen’s formula. In the time since the horrifying incident, Cannon has shared her experience on Facebook (below) to serve as a warning for other moms about using the sunscreen. 

"Since coming home, [I] have found a disturbing amount of cases like ours. I don't know why it's not removed from the shelves," she wrote, adding that she has spoken to Banana Boat and they offered her a reimbursement for the product. GoodHousekeeping.com reached out to Edgewell Personal Care, the makers of Banana Boat sunscreen, and received the following statement:

"We take all of our consumer's concerns seriously and investigate all cases when we are contacted. We work diligently to provide high-quality Banana Boat sun protection products and we are greatly concerned when any person encounters a reaction using our products. We have spoken with the consumer and asked for the product so that our quality assurance team can look into this further. Without examining the product, it is difficult to determine what may have caused the problem as described. Like all products available in Canada, all Banana Boat products in the United States also undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are appropriately labeled and meet all relevant health regulations, including SPF tests."

However, according to Eagan, MN, dermatologist Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, the claims might not be 100-percent true. "In actuality, this does not appear to be a burn at all," he explains, adding that it appears to be an allergic reaction to the sunscreen. "Unfortunately, anyone can develop an allergy to anything at any time, and the claim that a child has been 'burned' by any product is a very emotionally-charged statement that in all reality is likely to be false in this case. In general, I would recommend avoiding aerosol sunscreens for infants and to use a cream-based lotion such a Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 30 with broad-spectrum protection."
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  • Melissa W.
    Posted on

    She clearly stated that she saw her baby's face getting redder and redder as the day went on, so why didn't she get her baby out of the sun, and then rinse the sunblock off of her? It's common sense!!! She saw something was wrong and did nothing about it! My heart breaks for this baby. It's very sad. My opinion is that this is not Banana Boats fault. The mother has neglected that the baby was in distress. Of course a small percentage of people are going to have an allergic reaction to sunblock ingredients, but, when you notice something is wrong, they wash it off ASAP...

  • Marin
    Posted on

    I have an adult male friend who when he uses Neutrogena aerosol sunscreen has the same problem. His face swells up and turns red but he never got the blisters. Must be an allergic reaction that some people have to the ingredients.

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