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When 'Safe' Sunscreen Doesn't Stop The Burn

Actress and businesswoman Jessica Alba is defending the sunscreen made by her company, after months of complaints from customers on social media, who said it did not protect them from sunburns.

In a letter on The Honest Company’s website, Alba and her co-founder write that they use the sunscreen on their own children, and that it has gone through extensive testing. They also write that they will “do what it takes to make it right,” inviting people to call their customer service number.

The sunblock is marketed as “safe,” eco-friendy and free of harsh chemicals. Using sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer, but the Environmental Working Group says some of the ingredients in certain sunscreens can themselves can lead to cancer or other health problems.

Here & Now’s Robin Young takes a look at some of the challenges of choosing a sunblock with Dr. Darrell Rigel, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University, and a past president of the American Academy of Dermatology.

4 Things To Look For In A Sunscreen

  1. SPF 30 or higher.
  2. It should say “broad spectrum,” meaning both UVA and UVB protection.
  3. Water resistant.
  4. A bigger or more established company/brand. “I believe their testing procedures tend to be a little more rigorous,” Dr. Rigel says.


  • Darrel Rigel, M.D. clinical professor of dermatology at New York University. He is also a past president of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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