Jessica Alba Responds to Honest Company Sunscreen Backlash - NBC New York
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Jessica Alba Responds to Honest Company Sunscreen Backlash

The statement comes two weeks after NBC 5 Investigates reported criticism from consumers about the sunscreen’s effectiveness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Burn Notice: Angry Parents, Sunburned Kids and Complaints About a Brand of Sunscreen

    Complaints lodged in recent months raise questions about the efficacy of a brand of sunscreen many parents choose for its all-natural ingredient claims. Did a recent change in the company’s formula prompt problems? The company says “no.” NBC5's Lisa Parker Investigates. (Published Monday, Aug. 3, 2015)

    Jessica Alba has responded to claims from upset parents who say her company's sunscreen lotion left their kids burned.

    “As parents, it pains us to hear that anyone has had a negative experience with our Sunscreen,” she and Christopher Gavigan, co-founders of The Honest Company, said in a statement on the company's website. “We develop and use Honest Sunscreen to protect our own children – Honor, Haven, Luke, Evie, and Poppy – at the park, in the pool, outside, every day. As with everything we do, we take sun protection seriously here at Honest.”

    The Honest Company, based in California, sells all-natural products. The sunscreen is labeled “ultra-pure,” a natural mineral-based sun protection with an SPF of 30.

    The statement comes two weeks after NBC 5 Investigates reported criticism from consumers about the sunscreen’s effectiveness.

    Gretta Stabler, of Naperville, told NBC 5 Investigates that she applied the sunscreen on her 6-year-old daughter Maggie four times over a 3-hour period during a trip to the pool.

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

    Mad, but motivated. Stabler posted a warning to her neighbors on Facebook, with pictures and descriptions similar to these complaints NBC 5 Investigates found from parents across the country.

    NBC 5 Investigates found at some point the company cut the amount of zinc oxide in the tubes from 20 percent to 9.3 percent. When it removed the zinc, the company says it added other ingredients to keep it effective.

    “Our previous Sunscreen formulation had a 40-minute water resistance and customers told us that it didn’t apply as easily as they would’ve liked,” the statement on the company’s website read. “Based on our own experience and consumer feedback, we redesigned our Sunscreen Lotion for 80-minute water resistance and an improved formulation that allows for easier application and a lighter-weight feel.”

    The company maintains the product was tested by an independent third party according to FDA protocol and is safe when used as directed. They say they changed the formula in early 2015, largely to lessen whitening and to help ease application and feel, which was a feedback point from customers.

    The majority of other sunscreens NBC 5 Investigates looked at that contain zinc oxide as the only active ingredient contain much more of the mineral – anywhere from 18 to 25 percent.

    After seeing the rash of complaints, NBC 5 Investigates visited some local stores and found The Honest Company product was no longer on some store shelves, like Target where an employee told us it was “discontinued.” The shelves were nearly empty at the Nordstrom we visited and “out of stock” for visitors to the company website.

    The Honest Company says the sunscreen remains available at many retailers, on its website for Honest monthly subscribers with existing sunscreen orders, and has not been discontinued.

    When asked about the more than 200 complaints lodged online since April of this year, the company says it can’t begin to hypothesize why certain customers might complain about any given product and points out the number of complaints received on its own website is less than one-half of one percent of all its units sold at honest.com.

    “We care about taking every precaution possible to ensure that your product experience will keep you healthy and happy,” Alba and Gavigan wrote. “That said, what matters most to us is your trust and confidence. We’re passionate about living up to your expectations as much as our own.”

    The company has encouraged those with concerns about the product to contact them and they will “do what it takes to make it right.”

    The company has asked that customers call (888) 862-8818.