Parents Burned by 'Natural' Sunscreen That Leaves Their Kids Scalding Red

A popular brand of sunscreen from the Honest Company has parents super pissed because they say it totally doesn’t work and their babies are getting terrible sunburns even after they liberally applied the “ultra pure” block.



The Honest Company is owned and repped by babe-a-liscious mama Jessica Alba, who touts the brand’s scrupulous attention to the very best natural ingredients and transparency for parents so they know exactly what they’re using on their families.

That’s an appealing message for moms like Naperville, Florida's Gretta Stabler, who bought the Honest Company’s sunscreen on a recent trip to Costco.

“I used some of the brand’s products before," Stabler told NBC Chicago. "I was drawn by the fact it was a zinc-based sunscreen. It was a natural product not full of chemicals."

Stabler applied the sunscreen on her 6-year-old-daughter Maggie four times over three hours on a recent afternoon at the pool.

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

More from The Stir: The Top Rated Sunscreens For Summer

And Stabler isn’t the only customer with complaints about the Honest Company’s sunblock. The Amazon reviews are brutal.

“Honest Company?” customer A. Black wrote on her one-star review of the block. “Honestly, this sunscreen sucks!”

Adam Watson is another customer who was compelled to issue a warning, calling the sunblock “Sunburn accelerant (sic)!” He added that “The Honest sunscreen seemed to make my daughter burn even more than if she had no sunscreen at all.”

Catherine Sheedy had a similar experience.

“Want a horrible sunburn? Use this.” Sheedy wrote in her review. “You are better off going old school and slathering yourself with baby oil.”

In fairness, there were other reviewers who said they use the product and that it does work as advertised, but I’m not sure it’s worth conducting your own sunburn test. It just goes to show you can’t always trust that a product will be effective, no matter how “honest” the brand proclaims to be.

It’s worth a reminder that no sunblock is 100 percent effective, especially when you factor in water and sweat. According to the Environmental Working Group’s guide to sunscreens, 80 percent of the 1,700 sunscreens either offer crummy protection from the sun or contain harmful ingredients.

The EWG has these 5 tips to avoid a sunburn without using sunscreens.

1. Cover up

Protective clothing including long sleeves, hats and pants shield your skin from UV rays and reduce your risk by 27 percent. Look for swimwear that includes long-sleeved rash guards with fabric that offers additional UV protection.

2. Avoid intense sun

Plan outdoor activity in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense.

3. Seek the shade

When outdoors find or create your own a shady spot with an umbrella or canopy. It’s especially important to keep infants shaded from direct sun.

4. Wear sunglasses

Protect your eyes from long-term damage from UV rays by wearing sunglasses each time you’re outdoors in the sun.

5. Know the UV Index

Check the UV index as part of your planning for outdoor activities to avoid over exposure to the sun.  

Remember, you can’t just blindly trust your kids’ health to any product or brand, no matter how honest the label says it is. The parents who got burned by the Honest Company’s sunscreen won’t likely make that mistake again anytime soon. Cover up and stay safe out there this summer!


Image Via © Anne Wirtz/Masterfile/Corbis

Becky Bracken is a news and views writer who serves it up with a sassy side of girl power. If you don't have anything nice to say, you should probably sit next to her. Get more at

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