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Health Canada finds no new concerns with sunscreen products

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 4:39 PM - In the summer of 2017 Health Canada received an uptick in reports of skin reactions to sunscreen, prompting the department to launch an investigation.

One of the more prominent complaints was brought to Health Canada's attention after Cacouna, Que., resident Caroline Morneau posted a message on Facebook about a burn her nine-month-old baby Loïc received, despite applying 60 SPF Banana Boat Baby sunscreen.

According to the post, blisters appeared on Loïc's skin a day after the lotion was applied. Morneau took her son to a pediatrician and found out he had suffered a second-degree burn.


In a statement released Monday, Health Canada concluded there are "no new safety concerns" with sunscreen products.

"However, the Department found that, on rare occasions, mild to moderate skin reactions may develop in individuals who have an allergy or sensitivity to one or more ingredients in sunscreen products," the agency says.

According to the statement, Health Canada reviewed a "wide range" of sunscreen brands currently available on Canada's store shelves and did not find any "serious concerns" with product quality.

"The benefits of regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that provides protection from both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays) with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher continue to greatly outweigh any risk of local skin reactions," the statement reads.

"Health Canada recommends broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher to prevent sunburn and to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Anyone with a known history of severe reactions to sunlight should stay out of the sun as much as possible and always use sunscreen and other sun-protective measures."

People with skin sensitivities are advised to test products for reaction prior to extended use, especially on children and babies. The agency notes reactions can take up to three days to appear.

"It is also important to remember that certain products, including some medications, can make people particularly sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) rays and cause them to burn easily and severely," Health Canada says.

"Medications that are taken orally, applied topically (e.g., a cream applied to the skin) or injected can all cause this type of reaction."

Read the full statement here.


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