If you have recently stocked up your spray sunscreen for summer then you must go through them, because it has been reported that the famous company is recalling the products after detecting benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, in some samples. 

Johnson & Johnson reported that benzene, a potential carcinogen, was discovered in aerosol products (spray sunscreen) and J&J advised customers on Wednesday to discard five of its six Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreens. 

The sunscreens that have been recalled are:

  • Neutrogena Beach Defense
  • Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport
  • Neutrogena Invisible Daily
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
  • Aveeno Protect + Refresh

J&J, one of the world’s largest sellers of consumer-health products in terms of sales. The company did not reveal how many bottles were affected or what the exact benzene levels were, but it did say the levels were low and not expected to cause health problems. They also stated that one other spray sunscreen product, Neutrogena Wet Skin, which is unaffected.

The company declared that it is notifying distributors and retailers to stop selling the products and also arranging for their return. The decision to recall the popular J&J spray sunscreens is the latest blot on the company’s consumer unit, which has previously faced product recalls and lawsuits.

More recently, the company has been hit with lawsuits alleging that its talc-based baby powder causes cancer or mesothelioma and that the company failed to warn women about the risks of using the product. The company has previously recalled Tylenol, Benadryl, and over-the-counter medications, many of which were marketed to children, due to manufacturing issues. J&J’s consumer reputation suffered as a result of the recall, which cost the company more than $1 billion in sales.

A few weeks ago, a test was conducted by the online pharmacy and laboratory Valisure. In which, Benzene was discovered in 78 commonly used sunscreen products. The majority of the products were aerosol sprays, and the company requested that the FDA recall them all.

Benzene is a chemical that can cause cancer easily. High levels of exposure can also cause more immediate symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and rapid or irregular heartbeats. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene is a potentially carcinogenic chemical found naturally in volcanoes and forest fires. It can also be found in gasoline, crude oil, and cigarette smoke. Benzene is widely used in the United States, particularly in the production of plastics, resins, rubbers, dyes, and pesticides.

Chemical sunscreens allow rays to penetrate the skin before harming it. Active ingredients commonly found in these include avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. You may prefer one type over another depending on your skin type.

Similarly, a mineral sunscreen may be preferable to a chemical sunscreen (or vice versa). Both are FDA-approved, but they work differently, according to the product website CeraVe. Mineral or physical sunscreens, in particular, sit on top of the skin and protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. Mineral sunscreens are those that contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

So, when you are about to choose sunscreen make sure you choose it according to your skin type. If you aren’t aware of how to choose sunscreen you can also go through our “How to choose the best sunscreen for my skin” blog here.