Concerned parents take to social media to warn others about popular sunscreens that have resulted in severe reactions.

The latest warning comes from a Queensland mother who claims her family’s holiday turned into a nightmare after her children broke out in blisters using a popular sunscreen.

Vanessa Munroe, from Broadmere, took her two children, aged six and 11, on a camping trip from Friday to Sunday and purchased Banana Boat’s SPF50+ Sun Comfort clear spray to keep them protected.

She said just one minute after spraying her daughter with the product and rubbing it in, Ruby started to blister on her lips, chin and under her eyes.

“She was up all night and the blisters were so big they’d pop themselves,” Ms Munroe told Yahoo7.

Ms Munroe said she took Ruby to a chemist on Sunday, who said it appeared she had suffered a chemical burn.

Last year CHOICE said that a potential class action against the maker of Banana Boat Australia, Edgewell Personal Care is brewing after lab tests found seven of their products failed to meet their stated SPF claims.

Some SPF 50+ aerosol sunscreens were showing results as low as SPF 11. Read more HERE.

Other stories of severe reactions 

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In October we shared that three-year-old Rivers, suffered severe burns while wearing Peppa Pig sunscreen on family trip to Bali.

Rivers Jasper suffered burns to his back, face, shoulders and ears during a family trip to Bali last week.

sunscreen burn

His parents Shannae and Paul Jasper said the harrowing experience has left their son terrified of having any kind of lotion or spray put on.

‘He’s absolutely petrified now of when we try and put any type of spray, lotion, even in the bath he won’t pour the water over his back,’ Ms Jasper told Seven News Perth.

‘He won’t let us touch him.’

Ms Jasper said they put the Cancer Council-approved sunscreen on three-year-old Rivers in their hotel room but he was in unbearable pain within minutes.

Early in the year we shared the story of mum, Jessie Swan, who said her three-month-old son was in hospital for three days after a reaction to the 50+ Peppa Pig sunscreen range.

She posted to the Cancer Council Facebook page to warn others, “This is my 3 month old son. 

He has not been in the sun, he was simply outdoors so I put screen on him just in case. We’ve been in hospital for 3 days 2 nights so far trying to treat this horrible rash/burn caused by your 50+Peppa pig sunscreen.


**this is not sunburn, this is a reaction to the cream, can people stop commenting how irresponsible I am… please, as if i would leave a infant in the sun.”


Ms Swan certainly isn’t alone, a Sydney mum also shared how she suffered first and second degree burns after using the same product.

Mother-of-two, Kim Cancellier, said she bought the Peppa Pig Cancer Council sunscreen and decided to test it on herself before putting it on her three and five-year-old daughters.

“Instead of acting as a sunscreen and protecting me from the suns rays it had an opposite effect and turned me BRIGHT red, completely and utterly burnt,” Ms Cancellier said in her Facebook post.


“I went to trusty old Google to read reviews only to discover I’m not the only person who has had this issue.”

The 31-year-old said she was disgusted the sunscreen failed to protect her in the two hours she was in the sun at Dee Why beach last month.

This was a product I purchased with my young daughters in mind. A product I thought would PROTECT my children.  How could I not be aware that this is the result of using a cancer council branded sunscreen?!

I urge any of you with kids to NOT use this product without patch testing first!

I’m 31 and if I’m in this much pain then I can’t even begin to imagine the pain a child would be in.”

The Cancer Council of Australia did reach out to both mothers and issued a statement on its Facebook page.

“We would like to reassure everyone that our Cancer Council Kids sunscreen has been formulated to be as suitable for delicate skin as possible,” a spokesperson said.

“Please also be reassured that every product we release onto the market is approved by the TGA and meets very strict regulatory and quality standards.”

How to apply sunscreen and be sunsmart

Did you know Sunscreen should really be the last line of defence after clothing, a hat, shade and sunglasses?

During sun protection times, apply SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any skin not covered by clothing.

Use a generous amount of sunscreen. The average-sized adult needs a teaspoon of sunscreen for their head and neck, each limb and for the front and the back of the body. That is about 35ml of sunscreen for one full body application.

Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply again every two hours (whether or not the label tells you to do this).

Remember to reapply after swimming or excessive sweating.

If you have an allergic reaction to a sunscreen, try another brand or look for a fragrance-free product such as a toddler or sensitive sunscreen.

A doctor or chemist could also offer advice about choosing another product.

The Australasian College of Dermatologists does not recommend widespread regular use of chemical sunscreens on babies under 6 months.

Shade tips via Sunsmart

The shade moves with the sun, so be prepared to move around a bit and follow the shade.

Trees with dense foilage with a dark, even shade patch are the best types of natural shade.

Take portable shade with you to make sure you will not be caught out. Consider a beach or market umbrella or shade tent.

Use a shade visor or hang a blanket over the side windows in the car. Side and back windows don’t offer as much protection as the front windscreen.

When buying a pram, check that the hood can be adjusted, so that it can be moved to block out the direct sun. For the best protection, pram shade covers should completely cover the pram and be made of densely woven fabric that combines a mesh section – so the baby can see and air can circulate – and a shade fabric section. The fabric section should block close to 100% of UV radiation (UPF50+) and the mesh section should block at least 70% of UV radiation (UPF3.3).

Have you had any similar experiences?

Share your comments below.

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  • Those are horrific burns! Poor babies! It makes me frustrated that we do the right thing for our children to protect them from the sun, and then they use some chemical that reacts with the most sensitive skin and causes burns like these! They should be taken off the market!


  • These are horrific burns. Maybe it’s one of the ingredients in the sunscreen. Need answers before people stop using sunscreen altogether


  • Oh dear, this is very worrying.


  • I purchased ego sunsense screen 50+ for my face and heck. Within an hour of putting it on I came out in a massive reaction over my face and neck. I was bright red all over. My question is what are they putting in these products that are causing these horrendous reaction especially for children. The 30+ products are fine it’s this 50+ that has me very worried. I hope the children and people affected by this recovery soon :)


  • These are such terrible stories. I’ve seen them across many social media channels and on TV. We’ve not experienced any such sun burn trauma and we use the Banana Boat 50+ sunscreen. It was our go-to on the Gold Coast recently and we’ve since used at home without any problems.


  • That’s awful!


  • I am thinking that there must have been a bad batch of the Peppa Pig sunscreen as we have used two of the products in this range, the cream and the spray with no reactions at all. My daughter has very sensitive skin and we have to watch what we use. We have tried other brands and either she still gets sunburn or it reacts with her skin. If it were me I would do a patch test in future before


  • This hasn’t happen to me but l can imagine how horrible it would be.


  • Saw this on the news – terrible thing to have happen.


  • Poor people the photos look so painful and will be sore for some time. you think you are doing the right thing by putting on sunscreen and expect to be safe not have massive skin burns and be in hospital. I really hope they have removed the products from the markets to prevent anyone else suffering in this way.


  • I have never seen the value in slapping chemicals onto sensitive skin and cooking the kids in the sun…. Not a fan of sunscreens


  • Had the same issue with one of ours with Banana Boat Kids SPF 30+. Thing was the children decided not to go out in the sun. One of the had a similar reaction – brick red. She had a liitle extra on her ears as hats tend to move around and ears get exposed.
    Kids Suncreen is as effective as others but don’t contain fragrance or the chemical to retain the fragrance in it. I asked pharmacists at different pharmacies to check that details were consistent and one obviously just pushing a favourite brand.


  • That rash looks so painful. I hope a speedy recovery is in store


  • Banana boat sunscreen had the same issue last year.obviously they’ve had bad batches it happens and maybe, they should test each batch to ensure its going to be okay for sale. On real hot days refrain from going out in the full sun and if you need to go out common sense cover up in light layers


  • Poor bub, how awful !!
    Store bought sun cream is pretty scary stuff and rather chemical and I don’t believe in it.
    You can make a homemade sunscreen yourself from natural ingredients like :
    *coconut oil (contains natural SPF properties),
    *shea butter (naturally protects skin, making it perfect for use in a sunscreen),
    *Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, or sesame oil (these oils are easily absorbed into the skin and also provide some natural sun protection),
    *eucalyptus and lavender essential oils (eucalyptus has very low natural SPF and lavender is great for soothing and repairing skin),
    *vitamin E oil (nourishes and moisturizes skin, and helps naturally preserve homemade sunscreen)
    *and zinc oxide – non nano – (a non-toxic, usually non-irritating, effective broad spectrum sunblock).


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